LinkedIn 'blocked in Russia' under controversial data law

Russia is set to block the website of the LinkedIn social network after a Moscow court found it had failed to comply with a controversial law requiring it to move servers into Russia.

The Moscow city court on Thursday upheld an earlier finding by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media and telecoms regulator, that LinkedIn had failed to keep information about Russian citizens inside Russia.

LinkedIn can appeal Thursday’s ruling, a court spokesman said.

The US-based company said the finding would hurt its users and requested a meeting with the agency responsible.

“‘LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce,” the company said in a statement.

“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 localization request,” it said.

The professional networking website was still accessible on Moscow internet connections as of Thursday afternoon.

However, Vadim Ampelons, a Roskomnadzor representative, told the Interfax news agency that LinkedIn would be blocked as soon as the agency received the full text of the court’s ruling, likely next week.

LinkedIn is the first major internet firm to fall foul of  controversial 2015 legislation that demands companies store data about Russian citizens on Russian territory.

Critics have described the data localization law as an attempt to make it easier for the Russian security services to access citizens’ personal information.

Some foreign firms, including Apple, have agreed to comply with the law. Russian authorities have so far postponed a potential show down with holdouts including Facebook and Twitter.

Roskomnadzor has so far audited 1500 companies for compliance with the new law.  

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