The Russian government has moved towards a more “China-like” approach in Internet Services.
The Russian State Duma passed a new law on Friday, stating that all internet companies, including foreign ones, storing information from or about Russian Citizens are obliged to store that data inside Russia. The data centers would be controlled by Roskomnadzor, the Federal Communications Supervisory Service. The state also guaranteed that the data isn’t going anywhere.
The bill was proposed after some Russian MPs were unhappy that most of Russians’ online information are held in foreign servers, mostly in the United States. Russian MP Vadim Dengin said “most Russians don’t want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals.”
MP Vadim Dengin said “most Russians don’t want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals.” The new law will allow the Russian government an easier way to gain access regarding its citizens’ online behavior.
This bill can be seen as a move for national security but it can also be seen as a move to pressure popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter into handing over personal information.
It is interesting to note that NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden is currently residing in Russia.
Other countries allow personal information be stored in American services via “safe harbor” agreements, allowing American companies to operate freely in other countries and vice versa.
The law would come into force September 2016 and companies that do not comply will face the risk of getting blocked by Roscomnadzor.
However, would 2 years be enough for international companies to have their online storage in Russia? Would some companies give up on getting a piece of Russian audience and focus on other markets instead?
Perhaps it would be easier for Russians to have their versions of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, just like in China.