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The Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications—or Roskomnadzor—made the move following a court judgement last week in Moscow, which ruled that LinkedIn was not complying with Russian data law. Now it will be up to internet service providers to carry out the ban and block access to the site.
The specific law that the social media firm is accused of breaking was put in place in 2014. It stipulated that all websites operating in the country had to store Russian users’ data on servers within Russia, not in other countries.
Talking to Business Insider, a LinkedIn spokesperson explained more: “LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce. … 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.”
This action against LinkedIn may be the first against a major American social network, but it’s not likely to be the last. Twitter and Facebook do not comply with the data law, either. Once a site is blacklisted, internet service providers are expected to enforce the ban within 24 hours.
The data storage law has been subject to a vast amount of criticism from within Russia. Information activists believe that this is part of a wider censorship program by President Vladimir Putin, as he continues to implement tighter controls on internet usage and access.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.