Russia’s New Data Storage Law: Protecting Information Or Silencing Dissent?

Russia’s New Data Storage Law: Protecting Information Or Silencing Dissent?

Russia’s New Data Storage Law: Protecting Information Or Silencing Dissent?

News broke late last week that Russia’s lower house of parliament had passed a law which required all internet companies operating inside the country to store Russian citizens’ personal data with the borders of its territory. The law is scheduled to come into effect on September 1st 2016 – a period of time which the authors of the bill hope will give companies sufficient time to build suitable data storage facilities.

Its supporters cite security concerns and data protection as the reasoning behind the bill, whereas its opponents have claimed that it’s a government attempt to limit the influence of social networks whilst also gaining greater access to user information. Which side is right?

putin

The bill was first discussed after several Russian MPs stated that they believed that Russian citizen’s data would be safer in Russia than in the US. “Most Russians don’t want their data to leave Russia for the United States, where it can be hacked and given to criminals”, said MP Vadim Dengin upon introducing the bill to the Duma. “Our entire lives are stored over there, companies should build data centres within Russia”.

“All [internet] companies, including foreign ones, are welcome to store that information, but [they must] create data centers in Russia so that it can be controlled by Roscomnadzor” (the Federal Communications Supervisory Service).

Supporters believe the law is no different to the current EU policy of trying to legally protect online personal data. Leonid Levin, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Information Policy Committee, says the law serves similar goals to the recent decision by the European Court of Justice that forced Google to offer citizens within the continent the ‘right to be forgotten’ (though that in itself has been highly controversial). “The security of Russians’ personal data is one of the basic rights that should be protected, legally and otherwise,” Levin said.

Despite the seemingly noble intentions, critics believe the law is a way for the Russian government to serve it’s own interests. Social networks were widely used by protesters opposing President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012, leading to widespread protests and brutal police crackdowns. Anton Nosik, Russia’s foremost internet entrepreneur, said he believes the law will be used to have a muffling effect. “The aim of this law is to create a quasi-legal pretext to close Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other services” he said. “The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where internet businesses will not be able to exist and function properly”.

Worryingly, websites that don’t comply will be blacklisted by Roscomnadzor, which will have the power to limit access to them or even close them down entirely. After recently passing a law which requires bloggers with more than 3,000 hits per day to register with the government, several people think that Putin is simply trying to find another way to curb online dissent against government, which is rife and widespread when compared with the state controlled television channels. It is widely known Putin thinks the internet is ‘a CIA experiment.

Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and other leading tech giants have reacted with disgust – though as they fight the US government over the assertion that Washington has the right to access data anywhere in the world if it was collected by a US-based company, it could yet be a law which oddly benefits them. Either way, it is certain that Russia’s latest laws will add increased pressure to the already strained relationship between the two countries.

Most concerning for internet companies is whether two years is enough time to make adequate alternative data storage plans. Particular concerned are the hotel and airline industries, who say that in order to develop the necessary booking systems they will need to build software from scratch. “If the law is passed in its current version, then Russians won’t be able to take a plane not only to Europe, they won’t even be able to by an online ticket from Moscow to St Petersburg,” the Director General of internet payment provider ChronoPay, Aleksey Kovyrshin, said.

It should be noted that the new bill must still be approved by both the upper chamber and Vladimir Putin before it becomes law, though this is expected to be a mere formality.

What do you think? Is Russia right to be concerned about American spying, or is this the latest attempt by Putin to control and subvert his fellow countrymen? Let us know in the comments below.

(Image Source: Mark III Photonics / Shutterstock.com)

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

Find out more
View All Articles

One Response to Russia’s New Data Storage Law: Protecting Information Or Silencing Dissent?

Comic
The Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute:  Hot Topics – Cyber Security, Big Data, Privacy Breach Response

The Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute: Hot Topics – Cyber Security, Big Data, Privacy Breach Response

Cyber Security, Big Data, Privacy Breach Response MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Cyber security, social media, modern slavery, anti-corruption, export controls and sanctions, and privacy top the list of “Hot Issues” compliance and ethics professionals face each day. These and many other compliance and ethics concerns will be addressed at the 2016 Compliance & Ethics…

Top 5 Digital Health Trends

Top 5 Digital Health Trends

Digital Health Trends It is very important to keep up with the changing technology. However, it is also just as important to advance the consumer experience, care delivery methods and create opportunities for career development for the healthcare workforce. Five trends that are proven to be effective in winning in the digital age have been…

Technological Advances In The Healthcare Industry

Technological Advances In The Healthcare Industry

The Healthcare Industry The use of smart devices in healthcare is expanding, and according to a report by Technavio the global smart wearable healthcare device and services market will show a compounded annual growth rate of over 18%. Thanks to modern medicine, lifespans are increasing, resulting in aging populations and a higher frequency of chronic…

How Secure Is Your School Campus Network?

How Secure Is Your School Campus Network?

School Networks School related networks are one of the most attacked sectors today, coming in third worldwide to healthcare and retail. Because of the ever growing threat of cybercrime, IT professionals everywhere aren’t thinking in terms of “what if our network gets attacked?” Now, they think in terms of “when will our network be attacked?”…

IBM and VMware Expand Partnership to Enable Easy Hybrid Cloud Adoption

IBM and VMware Expand Partnership to Enable Easy Hybrid Cloud Adoption

IBM and VMware Expand Partnership More than 500 new clients, including Marriott International are now running VMware software on IBM Cloud since the strategic cloud partnership was announced;Introduction of VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud helps move existing apps to the cloud within hours; More than 4,000 IBM service professionals trained to help organizations extend…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

Rounding Out Your Security Strategy With The Enterprise Cloud

Rounding Out Your Security Strategy With The Enterprise Cloud

Enterprise Cloud Security Strategy No company wants to be the one to have to announce one of the world’s biggest data breaches. From managing networks and datacenters to protecting hundreds of applications, today’s enterprises face enormous challenges. With all the surface area that needs to be tracked and protected including APIs on the front-end, customer integrations…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

The Internet of Things Is About To Explode By 2020, Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion worldwide. It’s an astoundingly large figure given that the sector barely existed three years ago. We are now rapidly evolving toward a world in which just about everything will become…

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

The Business Intelligence Dashboard As a small business owner you would certainly know the importance of collecting and analyzing data pertaining to your business and transactions. Business Intelligence dashboards allow not only experts but you also to access information generated by analysis of data through a convenient display. Anyone in the company can have access…

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

Cloud Computing Education The benefits of cloud computing are being recognized in businesses and institutions across the board, with almost 90 percent of organizations currently using some kind of cloud-based application. The immediate benefits of cloud computing are obvious: cloud-based applications reduce infrastructure and IT costs, increase accessibility, enable collaboration, and allow organizations more flexibility…

Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Enabling Business Strategies The cloud is not really the final destination: It’s mid-2015, and it’s clear that the cloud paradigm is here to stay. Its services are growing exponentially and, at this time, it’s a fluid model with no steady state on the horizon. As such, adopting cloud computing has been surprisingly slow and seen more…

Moving Your Enterprise Apps To The Cloud Is A Business Decision

Moving Your Enterprise Apps To The Cloud Is A Business Decision

Moving Your Enterprise Apps Whether it be enterprise apps or any other, if there is any heavy data that is going to be transacted in and through an app, then affiliating it with the Cloud becomes a must. And then an important question arises: How do you decide when to integrate your enterprise app with…

Do Small Businesses Need Cloud Storage Service?

Do Small Businesses Need Cloud Storage Service?

Cloud Storage Services Not using cloud storage for your business yet? Cloud storage provides small businesses like yours with several advantages. Start using one now and look forward to the following benefits: Easy back-up of files According to Practicalecommerce, it provides small businesses with a way to back up their documents and files. No need…