New Russia Internet Data Storage Law

July 7, 2014
New Russia Internet Data Storage Law
In a move that could have major implications for web hosts catering to Russian customers, Russia recently passed a new Internet Data Storage Law that would require Russian citizens’ personal information to be stored on servers within Russian borders.

Reuters has reported the new law was passed by the Russian lower house of parliament, but still needs the approval of the country’s upper chamber and ultimately, the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law. Should approval be granted, the new legislation will become law in September 2016.

The move is ostensibly designed to protect Russian citizen’s data, but those critical of the new ruling fear it might be aimed at curbing Russian’s participation on social networks such as Facebook. A number of critics believe the move suggests Russia may be trying to establish a restricted Internet that only appears within Russia’s boundaries, and which would offer the Russian government greater access to Russian Internet users’ data. Some suggest the country is trying to avoid a repeat of the 2012 opposition to Mr. Putin which was driven by social network usage.

"The aim of this law is to create... (another) quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services," suggested Anton Nossik, a Russian blogger and Internet expert in a report by Reuters. "The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where internet business would not be able to exist and function properly."

However, Russian MP Vadim Dengin told Reuters, "Most Russians don't want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals. Our entire lives are stored over there.”

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