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Russia Requires Personal Data Stored in the Country

It won’t be long before the Russian government will be enforcing rules on the country’s data storage. The Russian State Duma (their parliament) recently passed the first bill that requires all the personal data of Russians to be stored within the country.

The bill was approved by 325 votes against 65 on the 4th of July 2014.

At the moment the entire bill hasn’t been passed – this is just the first one. But, if passed, it would mean that every international service used by Russian citizens would need to have physical servers within the country’s borders. Facebook, YouTube, Dropbox… you name it, if a Russian wants to use it then it can only do so if that service has a server within Russia.

Not only that, but companies that aren’t Russian would not be able to send data out of the country unless they provide guarantees on data storage within the country. The state telecommunications agency is called Roskomnadzor and will force carriers to restrict access to the services that don’t comply.

TechCrunch did a rough translate of the bill through Google, which reads:

“When collecting personal data, including through information and the internet telecommunications network, the operator is required to provide a record that the systematization, accumulation, storage, updating and retrieval of personal data of citizens of the Russian Federation, is held on databases located in the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The tech blog reached out to Google, Facebook and others for comment on the ruling.

“We do not have any comment that we can share at this point,” a Google spokesperson told them. As such, it’s unknown whether Google will continue to operate there. Indeed, it is clear that the mega tech company are not going to be happy with the ruling, and others will likely feel the same.

It’s clear, though, that if this ruling goes ahead then it will be a drastic change to how international companies offer their services. Depending on the size of the company, many may simply just no longer offer their services in Russia. For others, likely Google, they’ll be faced with huge costs to get the infrastructure set up in the country – indeed, they may conclude it simply isn’t worth it.

This also impacts Russian companies too, though. They will not be able to store their data outside the country and will have to invest in Russian hosting companies. Not only does this cost financially to invest into these Russian hosting companies, but there will also be great costs associated with actually transporting that data over. Systems will have to be changed and that could mean downtime for the company’s data.

The law, should it be put into place, will begin on September 2016, giving companies just over two years to prepare for the changes. That may seem like a long time, but companies are going to have to act quickly in order to be ready for the changes – especially the larger ones who deal with vast amounts of data and transfers.


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