Russian watchdog repeats threat to block Facebook over data issue

Updated 2018-04-19 09:45:05 Xinhua

Russian telecommunication watchdog Roskomnadzor reiterated Wednesday its threat to block Facebook by the end of 2018 if it does not comply with the country's legislation.

Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov told Izvestia newspaper that the watchdog's representatives will inspect Facebook this year to check whether the company has reacted to Roskomnadzor's previous demands, including localizing Russian citizens' databases as well as removing all "prohibited" information.

"If none of them is fulfilled, partially fulfilled, or the Russian state is not informed about the intention to implement these actions, then, obviously, the question of blocking will arise," Zharov said.

Various amendments to Russian legislation, which became effective from September 2015, require Internet service providers to store and process personal data of Russians on the territory of Russia.

Roskomnadzor warned Facebook of a possible blockade in the end of 2017 unless the company agrees to store personal data of Russians on domestic servers, which, according to Zharov, Facebook has failed to do so far.

Roskomnadzor started blocking instant messaging service Telegram in Russia on Monday, for its failure to provide the watchdog with encryption keys, which may give access to users' personal data.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov said that although Russia accounts for just around 7 percent of the messenger's 200 million users, it will do everything in its power to bypass the blockade.

By Wednesday afternoon, Telegram is still operating on many platforms in Russia in spite of the watchdog's efforts.

Roskomnadzor blocked U.S.-based LinkedIn in 2016 for its refusal to localize Russian citizens' databases.

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