Russia blocks access to LinkedIn for violating data storage laws

Russian laws require websites that contain personal data of its citizens to be stored on servers within the country.

Russia blocks access to LinkedIn Reuters/David Loh

The communications regulator in Russia, Roskomnadzor, has ordered internet service providers (ISP) to block access to LinkedIn after a court ruled that the social networking website was guilty of violating a law on data storage.

It is the first social networking website to be banned by Russian authorities. LinkedIn has more than six million registered users in Russia.

According to Russian laws, websites that contain personal data of citizens need to store it on Russian servers. The law was introduced in 2014. LinkedIn failed to follow the law the regulator said, according to Reuters.

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LinkedIn would not be available in Russia over the next 24 hours, a spokesman for Roskomnadzor, Vadim Ampelonsky, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. Rostelcom, an ISP, said it had already blocked access to the employment-oriented social networking service.

In a statement issued earlier this week, California-headquartered company said, "LinkedIn's vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce.

"The Russian court's decision has the potential to deny access to LinkedIn for the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses. We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request."

Critics were of the view that the move against LinkedIn is part of Russia's crackdown on social networking sites, which has tightened control over such sites in recent years.

Last week, a Moscow city court rejected LinkedIn's appeal against the ruling that it had broken the law that requires personal data of Russian citizens to be stored within the country's servers. The website was accessible in Moscow on Thursday, but Ampelonsky told Interfax that it would be blocked once the agency received the full text of the court's ruling.

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