Russia has blocked LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) for violating local internet laws that requires online companies to store data on Russian citizens within the nation’s borders. A Russian court in November ordered the block the professional networking site.
In a recent move, Russian authorities has directed Apple and Google to remove LinkedIn apps from their online stores, The New York Times reported. The LinkedIn app is no longer available on iPhone or Android devices in Russia. Recently, China also blocked The New York Times app on iPhones.
Russia Blocks LinkedIn
LinkedIn, which was acquired by Microsoft last year, was banned in Russia after a local court found the company of breaching the country’s data protection rules.
In 2014, the country introduced new rules that require social networking sites to store the personal data of Russian citizens on web servers located within the borders of the country. Russian officials say that it’s step towards protecting the personal data but many people believe that the law could be used to punish American and foreign companies as well as for more censorship and control. Some people think that Facebook and Twitter also going to face similar situations.
LinkedIn has more than six million members in Russia.
The professional networking giant said that it was very “disappointed” with the decision by Russian regulators to block the service, which the company confirmed was extended to apps in Russian Apple and Google Play stores.
“It denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses,” said Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn.
Apple confirmed it was asked to remove its LinkedIn app in Russia about a month ago. It has also confirmed it was asked by China to block The New York Times app, but declined to comment further on both events. Google would not confirm it has removed LinkedIn in Russia but said it adheres to local laws in the countries in which it operates.
Kremlin also Targeting Microsoft
LinkedIn parent company Microsoft is also facing problems in Russia.
At the end of 2016, the city of Moscow announced that it will stop using Microsoft software on its computers as part of Russia’s efforts to cut dependence on foreign technology. The city plans to remove Microsoft’s programs – Windows, Offices, Outlook – from its offices in phases. In the first phase, Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook will be replaced on 6,000 computers with a local software. The city is expected to use made-in-Russia technology on as many as 600,000 computers and servers in the coming days.
Reports suggested that Putin administration wants to a permanent ban on foreign software in government offices and state-controlled companies. And they are going to create problems for American firms in the $3 billion software market, starting with Microsoft. Putin’s internet czar German Klimenko is calling for raising taxes on the United States technology companies to help Russian competitors including Yandex NV and Mail.ru Group.
Russian government entities spend nearly $300 million every year on foreign software. According to the reports, Putin’s administration has developed a plan to cut reliance on foreign program reliance to less than 50% by 2025.