Russian IT watchdog blocks LinkedIn

By bne IntelliNews November 18, 2016

Russia’s telecom and IT watchdog Roskomnadzor said on November 17 it has banned LinkedIn and instructed telecommunications operators, thereby blocking the world’s largest professional network.

The move comes amid growing pressure in Russia on foreign internet giants, including Google, Facebook and Twitter.

“Based on the court’s ruling that entered into force, the LinkedIn social network has been included in the registry of those violating the rights of personal data owners and is to be blocked by telecommunications operators,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement.

Earlier in November, the Moscow City Court rejected the appeal of LinkedIn against its blocking in Russia for violating the law on personal data localisation. Russian watchdog Roskomnadzor argues that LinkedIn Corporation is responsible for all information and services offered by the social media network in Russia and thus has to comply with Federal Law On Personal Data that says foreign companies must  store user data on servers inside the country.

Roskomnadzor rejected arguments that the social network does not work in Russia specifically and does not identify its users by their place of residence.

LinkedIn said in an earlier statement as the ban loomed: “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 localisation request.”

Russia has steadily increased state control of the internet in recent years following protests organised on social media after rigged elections in 2012 re-installed President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.

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