Russia Will Require its Citizens’ Personal Data to be Hosted Locally by 2016

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All online personal data collected from Russians must soon by law be hosted in Russia. The Russian Duma passed the amendment to an existing law governing personal data on Wednesday, which will likely require all domestic and international online services operating in Russia to store data on servers in Russia.

The law is expected to take effect in September 2016.  Under the new law, non-Russian companies will also be banned from sending Russian’s personal data out of the country unless they can meet Russian government-imposed storage conditions.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian equivalent of the FCC, will require ISPs to block services which violate the new laws.

International companies with deep pockets like Facebook and Google could respond by building a flurry of new data centers in Russia, but there has been no news or comment suggesting that yet.

A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that it did not have “any comment that we can share at this point.” The search giant has been largely unavailable in China for nearly a month due to government censorship.

Russian law is in the process of adapting to control online content and fight piracy, and is holding hosts responsible. This bill however is meant to address national security and personal privacy, according to VentureBeat.

The new bill may be aimed at dodging NSA practices exposed by Edward Snowden, who is currently living under asylum in Russia.

In order to stay online in Russia without building data centers, companies may have to partner with Russian hosts, but the climate for cooperation between Russian companies and those from Europe and the US could make such partnerships difficult.

The Russian government is suspected of creating the “Uroburos” malware discovered earlier this year, and numerous governments have imposed sanctions on Russia after the annexation of Crimea.

In April, Russian social media entrepreneur Pavel Durov left the country indefinitely, and told TechCrunch “Unfortunately, the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment.”

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