Facebook, Twitter, Google Could Get Blocked In Russia

A new Russian law going into effect requires companies to store Russian's personal data on servers inside the country itself.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Could Get Blocked In Russia
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Russian President Vladmir Putin signed a law back in July requiring all web services that contain Russians' personal data to store that information in servers located on Russian soil. 

And now Russian newspaper Izvestia is reporting that Facebook, Twitter and Google received notice that they must register as "organizers of information" which would require them to store Russian data locally.

The move could cost those companies up to $45 million dollars a year. This would be great for Russia's data-center market, which is expected to be worth $550 million by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg.

And if the sites don't comply, they could be fined or potentially blocked by the Russian government.

The legislation was likely inspired, at least in part, by Edward Snowden's leak revealing the National Security Agency's indiscriminate surveillance programs, which included some spying on Russian citizens.

GigaOM quotes a U.S. State Department official condemning the law. "[People should not] use the Snowden revelations as an excuse for taking what are essentially protectionist measures that will harm the ability of the internet to work in an organic way,” 

Another part of the law requires any blogger who reaches more than 3,000 regular readers to comply to the same restrictions as traditional media. 

That includes avoiding "extremists calls," hate speech, slander, and obscene language.

GigaOM again writes that it's not yet clear what this actually means for Facebook, Twitter or Google. "Would the platforms themselves need to register, or would they have to police popular profiles on their platforms?"

The Moscow Times says this legislation is the latest blow to free speech in a country that has few remaining portals that allow Russians to speak openly. 

None of the companies targeted by the Russian government have commented as of yet.

This video contains images from Getty Images