Russia officially blocks LinkedIn over data storage issues

Just yesterday news broke that the EU had received commitments from Microsoft on their LinkedIn deal and that the EU set to rule on the merger by December 6th. Today more news has emerged on the LinkedIn front, but it’s not looking good for the now Microsoft-owned  business and employment-oriented social networking service. After initially upholding a ban a week ago, Russia has officially blocked LinkedIn over data storage issues (via TechCrunch)

The block on LinkedIn will affect up to 5 million (of the total 467 million) users, and comes after the social networking service failed to transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country. Enforced by the Russian government’s communications agency Roskomnadzor, Russia recently passed legislation forcing online websites to have localized national servers in Russia, as a way to protect user’s personal information. LinkedIn, however, had tried to meet with Russian authorities on November 11th about the issue, but it would appear that the meeting never occurred. The social networking website issued the following statement in regards to the block:

“LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce. We are starting to hear from members in Russia that they can no longer access LinkedIn,” said a spokesperson. “Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to 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.”

A statement seen in Russian on Rokomnadzor’s site reflects the Russian side of the Ban. Citing recent court decisions as reason for the ban, roughly translated, it reads:

“On the basis of an enforceable court decision LinkedIn social network entered in the register of personal data subjects rights violations and seeks to lock operators. August 4 Tagansky District Court of Moscow satisfied the claim of Roskomnadzor to social network LinkedIn for the rights of the general public – the personal data subjects. November 10 the Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the trial court.”

It’s not immediately clear why LinkedIn was targeted specifically in this case, or if an exception can be negotiated and applied, but other American websites have already complied to the Russian law. According to TechCrunch, Google and Apple have complied to the law, but Facebook and Twitter have yet to comply or put their data on Russian-based localized national servers. ISPs in Russia will also have to comply, and will have to block said websites without localized national data, or faced fines and blocks.

We will be following this situation closely, so be sure to stay tuned to WinBeta. As always, though, let us know what you think of this LinkedIn ban by dropping us a comment in the section below.

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