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Russia to block all web services that don’t store data in country by 2016

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The Russian Parliament has passed a new bill, forcing all web services to start storing Russian citizen’s data on their own servers by 2016. The vote passed in both houses and will allow Russia to maintain all data on Russian citizens, inside their own country borders, instead of in America.

This is a strong move against companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, who all have a limited presence in Russia. Unless they comply and offer data on the Russian servers, which need to be built to specifications released by the Russian government, they will not be able to work in Russia.

Mail.RU, Yandex and VK are all well known in Russia, but hardly ever used outside the country. They are alternatives for Gmail, Google Search and Facebook, all prominent worldwide. It appears Russia is in the same situation as China, where local startups attract more users.

The Edward Snowden leaks regarding the NSA, PRISM and U.S. surveillance have opened up a new discussion about U.S servers and how web companies cannot be trusted to handle data from other countries any more, especially private data.

This might be the first of many moves by countries, to split servers into different countries, forcing web services to become fully international with data storage. Russia obviously has their own incentives, potentially to open up spying on their own, but more-so to make their own homegrown web services more appealing.

We are not sure if Russia will just block all services or start warning and potentially giving out fines to companies who do not comply. The law gives web services two years to move data from the U.S or whatever other country to Russia, before they can start legally closing those websites down in Russia.

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