Russia fines Facebook and Twitter $50 for refusing to store user data in the country

mongeese

TS Addict
Staff member

Since late 2015 all companies that store or process data about Russian citizens have been required by law to do so in Russia. The issue is that the data must be made available to the Russian government as well. In 2016, LinkedIn was banned in Russia for failure to comply, without being given a chance to negotiate. In February, Apple began storing their data in Russia after they were threatened to a similar fate.

Last week and yesterday, Twitter and Facebook, respectively, were hit with a 3,000 ruble fine after Roskomnadzor took them to court, reports Russian news site Interfax. It was the minimum fine the court could deliver. Neither company chose to appear in court to defend themselves, probably because the employees’ wages would be larger than the fine.

Facebook, despite all their issues with user data and privacy protection, have continuously ignored pressure in order to protect their users (or if you’re more cynical, to avoid paying for servers in Russia). Twitter actually agreed to comply with the law in mid-2017, but clearly, they haven’t.

It’s unclear why Roskomnadzor is fining the companies for such miniscule amount. Even if it is the mandatory first step in a longer process, they could have chosen to fine them enough to get their attention. They’ve clearly got a long-term plan, but we’ll have to wait and see if the endgame is a total ban of western social media or the surrender of user data to the Russian government.

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Adorerai

TS Enthusiast
Maybe they're not like the EU where the primary goals of fining a company is just to fill their coffers?
 

bluetooth fairy

TS Booster
Facebook is not used in Russia. They have russian social site vk.com
They have VK.com, but it doesn't imply that they don't use the FB at all. It is more or less valid for young audience, but not in general. The FB is pre-installed on almost every Android phone or tablet, and they have 1.75 times less users than Vk.com does (as of 2018, according to statista dot com).

Total numbers of social network accounts in Russia ~ 70 mil
~ 35% of them use FB.com
~ 61% use VK.com
While the most popular is YouTube.com with ~ 63%.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
The amount is irrelevant. What it does is set a precedent. These companies are now "guilty"... at a later date, the court can decide to fine them a lot more, or even outright ban them - and they have the "this company has already been found guilty in our court" as evidence.

It's kind of like being an employee who gets a "caution" from an employer for inappropriate behaviour. The actual caution, provided there is no follow-up, is meaningless. There's no fine, no demotion, etc... but now, if the employee repeats the behaviour, they can be demoted, fired, etc because "they were already warned not to do it".
 

bluetooth fairy

TS Booster
According to Zuckerberg:

There's an important difference between providing a service in a country and storing people's data there. As we build our infrastructure around the world, we've chosen not to build data centers in countries that have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression. If we build data centers and store sensitive data in these countries, rather than just caching non-sensitive data, it could make it easier for those governments to take people's information.

Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won't be able to enter others anytime soon. That's a tradeoff we're willing to make.


https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/a-privacy-focused-vision-for-social-networking/10156700570096634/

So we know what to expect; it's just the matter of time. But.. they might find solution elsewhere, like share something different, not user's data, idk :) The law could be applied since 2015, but somehow the FB has managed to not being blocked still.
 
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toooooot

TS Evangelist
This isn't about the fine, they are just creating a prelude for further actions including a complete ban or at least an opportunity to threaten with a ban if they dont comply.
 
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MaikuTech

TS Evangelist
You'd have to be insane to store sensitive info anywhere within reach of Russia or China.
Suckerberg is still in hot water over that data user leak mess from last year.
If he would stoop that low to obey russian officials to store user data on their servers.
He needs to be locked away in a federal prison cell while his company is forced to close down.