Surrender your data: will Facebook be blocked in Russia

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Roskomnadzor reminded Mark Zuckerberg's social network about the need to comply with the law and store data on Russians inside the country. What other services might be blocked by the agency and how serious could be the consequences of refusing to cooperate?

The social network Facebook will be blocked in Russia if it does not comply with the law on personal data, it can happen in 2018, said the head of Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov. Later in the office explained to Forbes that the minister reminded the American company about the need to comply with Russian legislation, speaking of the requirements for foreign companies to localize bases with personal data of Russians in Russia.

"The law is mandatory for everyone, and therefore there is no doubt - that is, in any case, we will either ensure that the law was implemented, or the company cease to work in Russia, as, unfortunately, happened with LinkedIn. There are no exceptions here, "the head of the department noted. He stressed that the social network Facebook - "not a unique service, there are other social networks."

"Alexander Aleksandrovich (Zharov) stressed that Roskomnadzor interacts with Facebook, although it does not have an official position of the company on this issue. In 2017, no monitoring activities for the activities of Facebook in Russia are not planned, "- interrupted Forbes interlocutor in Roskomnadzor. About the events in 2018, the department promised to "think".

Press secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov, in turn, said that the social network must comply with the laws of Russia. "It would be incorrect to give estimates (about the benefits or harm to Russia) of the work of this large, but separately taken company," the Kremlin spokesman said (quoted by TASS).

The law "On Personal Data" came into force in Russia on September 1, 2015. From that moment, the agency drew attention to various foreign social networks and messengers, demanding that they implement this law. In the case of a professional social network LinkedIn came to a lock.


In June 2017, the head of Roskomnadzor appealed to the owner of Telegram Pavel Durov with a request to transfer data for inclusion of the messenger in the register of information dissemination organizers. Zharov threatened the messenger with a lock in the event of refusal to cooperate with the agency. The businessman in response said that the possible blocking of the telegram in Russia will lead to the transfer of information about the correspondence of Russian citizens to US-controlled services. "As soon as Telegram is blocked, the correspondence of Russian officials, their communication with friends and relatives and other sensitive data via WhatsApp / Viber will transfer to the Apple-controlled clouds of Apple iCloud / Google Drive," the billionaire underscored.

Later, Durov made concessions, agreeing to include a messenger in the register of Roskomnadzor. At the same time, the businessman agreed to transfer to the agency only open registration data about the publishing company Telegram. He stressed that these data are not a secret and are available to anyone who wants to be in open sources. At the same time, Durov described as "paradoxical" the absence on the agenda of the blocking in Russia of US-controlled WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger against the backdrop of an active discussion of the blocking of the "neutral Telegram with respect to Russia".


In April 2017, Twitter notified Roskomnadzor of plans to transfer the data of Russians to Russian servers by mid-2018. A corresponding letter to the department was sent by the Shiaed McShuini form of the Twitter on public policy issues in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company explained that it was "in the process of determining which information about Russian citizens / organizations involved in the commercial relations of Twitter in Russia can be allocated for storage in the Russian Federation."

Before that, in mid-March, Roskomnadzor organized a meeting with Vice President of Twitter and the coordinator of the public policy of the microblogging service in Russia to discuss the transfer of personal data of Russians to Russia. The parties discussed cooperation in the implementation of Russian legislation.


In November 2016 Roskomonadzor blocked LinkedIn. This case of blocking one of the largest social networks in Russia became the first for the department. The Office made a social network in the register of violators of the rights of subjects of personal data, sending a corresponding notification to the telecommunications operators. On March 7, representatives of the social network said they hoped to restore service in Russia in the future, but are not ready to eliminate violations of Russian legislation.

Roskomnadzor, in turn, said that LinkedIn refused to comply with the requirement to localize the bases with personal data of Russian citizens on the territory of Russia, "thus confirming their lack of interest in working in the Russian market." Commenting on the situation with Facebook, Zharov noted that LinkedIn "is fatally losing its audience among Russian users." He added that the new owners of the network - Microsoft - have not yet made concrete steps to solve the problem. "The procedure for entering the property is quite long, that's how it will end, so we will think about what to do," Zharov cited the words of the owners of the social network.

Roskomnadzor is authorized to include in the list of resources to be blocked, which violate the legislation of the Russian Federation, not only for articles dealing with personal data. However, the agency is flexible. So torrent trackers who uploaded pirated copies of films were blocked almost immediately after the adoption of the relevant laws and "hunting" for them continues - the mirrors of these resources are blocked. But the decision to block the pirated content is rendered by the courts and the department only executes their decision. In the case of compliance with the law on personal data, Roskomnadzor has a room for maneuver and shows flexibility in decisions. With resources that are not so clearly violate the law are negotiations, which, as the example from Twitter, can last a long time.

It is clear that the allocation of Russian users and the search for a place for this information in Russian data centers is not a fast process. LinkedIn, which did not go to negotiations, and had only 5 million users was blocked, although the resources owning the business social network Microsoft continue to work - they have no claims to the agency. Therefore, in the situation with Facebook, the situation in Russia also plays for it (it is the fourth in terms of the number of users after Odnoklassniki, VKontakte and Instagram), and also "contractability" - in acute situations, representatives of Mark Zuckerberg's project came to the Russian department.