Millennium Post

Russia moves to block LinkedIn network

Russia’s state communications watchdog on Thursday said that it had ordered internet providers to block the LinkedIn professional networking site, after a court ruled it was breaching a law on storing users’ data.

“The social networking site LinkedIn has been added to a register of violators... and submitted for blocking by internet operators,” the Roskomnadzor watchdog said in a statement on its website. 

The site, popular with job-seekers, could still be accessed on a cell phone in Moscow early this afternoon but several providers said they had blocked it. The hashtag LinkedIn was topping the trends on Twitter in Russia.

LinkedIn, in a statement, said it was “starting to hear from members in Russia that they can no longer access LinkedIn.”  “Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia,” it said.

“We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localisation request.” Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky told Interfax news agency that LinkedIn representatives had asked for a meeting to discuss the blockage and senior staff were deciding on a date.

President Vladimir Putin’s advisor on the internet German Klimenko told Rossiya-24 television that he expected that “LinkedIn will meet the conditions and will be unblocked.” 

He suggested that the law on personal data may also be “clarified” or “amendments will be submitted.” 

On November 10, a Moscow court had rejected an appeal by LinkedIn and upheld an August decision that the website was in breach of the controversial new law that requires personal data of Russian users to be stored in the country. The ruling also told LinkedIn to stop giving users’ data to third parties without informing them. A law passed in 2014 requires foreign messaging services, search engines and social networking sites to store the personal data of Russian users inside Russia.

Sites that breach the law are added to a blacklist and internet providers are obliged to block access to them.
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