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Russia Threatens To Shut Down Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws (bloomberg.com) 90

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Facebook Inc. will be shut down in Russia next year if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally, according to the head of Russia's state communications watchdog. "The law is mandatory for everyone," Alexander Zharov told reporters Tuesday. Roskomnadzor will be forcing foreign internet companies to comply or shut down in the country. President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2014 that requires global internet firms to store personal data of Russian clients on local servers. Companies ranging from Alphabet Inc.'s Google to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd complied, while others like Twitter Inc. demanded extra time to evaluate the economic feasibility of doing so.
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Russia Threatens To Shut Down Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They need FB for the mid terms, and certainly for the 2020 presidential election.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but they don't need it in Russia for that.

    • They'll just access it through a VPN
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @08:25AM (#55266907) Journal
      Also in the news this morning, Russia is considering banning Facebook during their next election cycle. I guess they know a little bit about how much influence Facebook can have on an election outcome...
      • In Russia, it would have very little influence. The vast majority of Russians hang out on Russia-specific Facebook clone, VKontakte. That one is already under the government control.

    • They need FB for the mid terms, and certainly for the 2020 presidential election.

      Except that Zuckerberg plans to run, and I don't quite see him letting anyone use his company against him.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @10:31PM (#55267455) Homepage

      Ohh fuck off, with the Russia bullshit. Why is it really, really smart for the Russian government to ban Facebook because you fucking nut burgers, it means local Russian companies will be able to snag that market, money stays in the country rather than raising debt, any fucking excuse can do and it is the smart thing to do. Simply cripple foreign web companies with bans to promote local development and hugely reduce revenue drain especially when those companies cheat on taxes like no other.

      It makes sound economic sense for all countries governments to interfere with the early start advantage of foreign companies, to promote local development. Those foreign companies are disruptive economic drain that bring very little to local economies, very few jobs, and are the biggest tax cheats, so bad across the board, they just syphon money out of the economy to of all places, no where else but tax havens across the planet.

      It is sound economic practice to cripple foreign internet companies with all sorts of bans, it really is. So data must be stored locally, no data can be exported, all foreign advertisement must be locally regulated, local servers must serve local users, anything you can come up to disadvantage foreign internet companies with their tax haven shenanigans, it sound economic practice and suck it up people, it will happen more and more and people will accept it.

      • That it "makes sound economic sense" doesn't change the fact that it's ultimately about censorship. Russia has instituted its own "great firewall", with mandatory ISP-level bans for content it deems illegal, but it's rather like a game of whack-a-mole at the moment, and makes it hard to track the people posting it. They'd much prefer all content to be actually hosted in the country, where it's subject to SORM [wikipedia.org] and Yarovaya's Law [wikipedia.org], for full-on warrantless wiretapping and easy censorship.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          At lot of the times that censorship is nothing to do with the sound management of government but corruption and hence economics at the core. All sorts of excuses arise but the reality is often nothing more than greed. So Russian corporations piss in the Russian governments ear about foreign competition, so they come up with excuses to cripple which in censorship technically but really is just economic censorship. This is not mom and pop store stuff, this is billions of dollars corporate stuff. Not the Russi

          • Russia is different from US in that regard - in Russia, corporations are appendages of the government, not the other way around.

            • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

              Nope Russia is different across the board. There are three distinct groups, the professional politicians/bureaucrats, the oligarchs and organised crime. If you attempt to cross lines, you get rather viciously smacked down. The politicians and bureaucrats are dominant and organised crime the weakest but organised crime definitely do most of the killing and of course they provide services to the oligarchs. The Russians government has a solid history of wanting to break people in the Gulags over a decade or so

    • Doesn't Russia have its own social media and search sites?

      I can't vouch for this source, but Facebook only barely makes the top 10 websites in Russia:

      Russia’s top 10 websites include Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube [venturebeat.com]

      The other sites are Russian and rank higher.

      How good a source can that be? They talk about the top 10 but only list 9!

      • Doesn't Russia have its own social media and search sites?

        VK (VKontakt) for social media (my wife has an account, for talking to her friends in Russia and Israel) ; mail.ru for mail (pretty much ditto, but I have an account too). Search - I dunno ; local Google maybe. As long as their Cyrillic suport is better than Slashdots'. It could hardly be worse.

  • Social Media blocks you!
  • Let 'em (Score:1, Interesting)

    'Way back, western gov'ts, businesses, and the chatty classes sold us the idea that trading with oppressive and repressive regimes would open them up to freedom of speech and rights and so on. Many or most of these regimes just used the technology they acquired to tighten the screws. Worse, we in the West have become lightly dependent on the economics from these nasty regimes. Worse yet, some western companies participate in the repressions directly. It's really time for companies like FB, Microsoft, Go
    • just pull out of those nations, block russia, iran and other oppressive nations access completely, and when they complain, tell them you tasted the internet, now either open up and be democratic & free or quit complaining and shut-up and build your own internet, and if you build your own internet it can not touch our internet until you change to a democratic & free society (GNU/Freedom)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought that FB, Apple, MS, and Google are producing/maintaining censorship/surveillence platforms. Why would I back any of this shit just because Russia wants to censor other shit than them?

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @08:11AM (#55266805)

    If the NSA can read everything, why not the rest of the world.

    • As funny as it is - that's the whole point. Russian government created local storage law as a leverage to have a piece of that particular pie. They want data on their citizens in their data centers.
  • I know it isn't a simple solution. Sure the legal framework that embassies operate under might not be ideal, so make a new framework. Not a simple thing to do, but with growing international interest in controlling data and corporations resistant partly due to economic reasons something like this could potentially be a good compromise.
  • by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @08:20AM (#55266861)
    This is the biggest problem that social media companies face. How to protect not only their business interests but also the people behind the data. At one level you are giving dissidents a platform to speak, but also a platform for raw propaganda. On the other hand you are storing a social map that will make rounding up and executing or imprisoning so much easier. I don't envy their position but a lot of people have pointed out that something should have been done about these issues years ago.
    • @ guppie "something should have been done about these issues years ago" .. .. you think?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I just listened to a podcast ("Reply All", I think) about how Russia basically sabotaged, then bought out LiveJournal back in the day, in order to stamp out its use by dissidents and critics of powerful oil oligarchs tied to Putin.

    • http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]
      "Now, there are many people out there (including computer scientists) who may raise legitimate concerns about privacy or other important issues in regards to any system that can support the intelligence community (as well as civilian needs). As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and some

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Yeah, because that was always a top priority: users privacy. That is way you MUST use your own name, because they are concerned.
      Or perhaps they are just worried that the states can take that data without paying for it.

      Yes, something should have done years ago, but nobody cared enough. The companies knew and they did not care, so fuck em.

  • by ctilsie242 ( 4841247 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @08:28AM (#55266937)

    There are a lot of places that enacted laws that require data to be stored on local servers to that country. Russia, and the EU require this. China requires not just this, but 51% ownership of any venture on their soil.

    What is surprising is that the US doesn't have these rules. Critical info on US citizens can be stored anywhere, even a hostile nation that would use that info for its economic or military gains.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The EU doesn't require that data be hosted locally, only that data protection provisions be extended to wherever it is hosted. Google "Privacy Shield".

      Of course if the data were properly encrypted in the first place, it wouldn't really matter where it was hosted.

    • Doesn't that imply that "a lot of places" are willing to censor/block the internet connectivity of companies that don't comply? Or do they only attempt it against folks with business/assets that they know they can use as leverage?

      Obviously Google and Facebook rely on ad revenue that is collected in each country, so they can't just refuse. But when a smaller internet site flat out refuses, the options to enforce the law against an entity with no assets in the country are limited.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      The US has certain protection laws, they don't specify specifically "where" it has to be hosted, but they do require US companies to cooperate with investigations and demands from the government *regardless* of "where" it is hosted.

      The EU, well, that ended up being a law without any teeth to it. The EU can demand its information laws to extend to the US or other locations, but it knows damn well that it can't enforce those laws outside it's borders.

      China and Russia are the only ones that are actually standi

      • by olau ( 314197 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @06:56AM (#55268475) Homepage

        I talked to a lawyer about the data protection directives in EU not long ago, and according to her it's just a question of time.

        The directive is actually clear - due to the whole NSA thing (gag orders and whatnot), US-based companies can't provide the necessary guarantees that personal data for EU citizens will be adequately protected.

        Google has a form you can fill in that they claim is good enough. But according to her, it's pretty obvious it's not. People just pretend it is. They can keep pretending some time yet, but at some point a verdict is going land and set the precedent that it isn't.

        Once that precedent is set, organizations in the EU will face a legal risk if they continue using the services. The new data protection directives to come into force next year has some relatively high fines associated.

        I'm not an expert, but I'm of the impression that the EU directive is actually reasonable and acknowledges that law enforcement sometimes needs to access to information after having consulted a court - it's the situation with NSA and the almost total lack of control with that organization in the US that's the problem.

    • Agreed, and ...

      "Once it's digitized, it's in the public domain." ~ © 2017 CaptainDork

      It really doesn't matter where it's stored. We've seen that security is more porous than a neutrino passing through the universe.

  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @09:15PM (#55267215) Journal

    I hope Facebook responds by never accepting another Russian funded ad. Not just the Russian propaganda machine will be thwarted in the US, but also Europe, and any other place Facebook has a presence. The Russian audience, by contrast, is minuscule, and Russia is just a big gas station with outdated weapons for export.

  • About time! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gussington ( 4512999 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2017 @09:17PM (#55267221)
    I never understood why this isn't already a thing. If a previous article is to be believed, Data is the new oil, so why would any sovereign nation just allow a foreign company come and drain all of your natural resources?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I never understood why this isn't already a thing. If a previous article is to be believed, Data is the new oil, so why would any sovereign nation just allow a foreign company come and drain all of your natural resources?

      I doubt that's what this is about.

      Remember LiveJournal? Russia didn't like the fact that dissidents and critics could freely communicate and organise on LiveJournal, but they couldn't get access to the users details. So what did they do? They bought LiveJournal, relocated all the servers to Russia and have free and unfettered access to user's information.

      Of course, a lot of people have moved on from LiveJournal and onto other social media platforms. Russia can't buy them all, but if the servers are physical

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