Russia fines four Western companies for not storing data locally

Russia fines four Western companies for not storing data locally

What just happened? Russia reportedly fined Airbnb, Pinterest, UPS, and Twitch for not storing data they collected from Russian users on servers located within its borders. The same law led to the country completely blocking LinkedIn several years ago.

According to a new report, a Moscow court has fined several Western companies for refusing to store personal data collected from Russian citizens on servers located in the country.

Airbnb, Pinterest, and Twitch have reportedly been fined 2 million roubles ($38,113) each, with UPS receiving a 1 million rouble ($19,057) fine. These sums sound a bit ludicrous considering that all of these companies reported multi-billion dollar revenues last year.

Russia’s data localization law entered into effect in 2015, mandating that any tech company operating in the country store all data on Russian users on local servers.

It’s not the first time fines have been handed down to companies due to this law. In 2021, Russian authorities fined WhatsApp 4 million rubles ($53,880 at the time), Facebook 15 million rubles ($201,975), and Twitter 17 million rubles ($290,444). In 2016, the social network LinkedIn got banned within the country for violating the same law.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, announced last month that it had also opened a case against Apple. The company faces a fine of up to 6 million roubles as this would only be its first offense.

Convincing companies to store user data on servers within Russia might prove to be a challenging task, especially considering the sanctions the country is facing. IBM and Microsoft have been laying off most of their employees in Russia, with the latter even blocking users in the region from downloading Windows from its website.

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