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Facebook, Skype and Gmail face ban in Russia due to data snooping legislation

Tech firms will have to store data in Russia or face becoming illegal in country
Thu Apr 24 2014, 15:37

WESTERN TECHNOLOGY FIRMS including Facebook, Gmail and Skype face being banned in Russia due to "anti-terror" data snooping laws in the country.

The Russian parliament passed the lesiglation on Tuesday, which could make services such as Gmail and Skype illegal in the country unless they store data on its soil.

The "Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information" amendment, part of the country's anti-terrorism laws, would require Russian data to be stored within the country in order to be accessed by state security and intelligence services.

This means that in order to avoid being banned, technology firms would need to store data within the country, essentially allowing Russian authorities to snoop on the data as they wish.

Of course that's not all it would do. The legislation, which has yet to be approved by Russian president Vladimir Putin, would also give the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) greater control over Russian internet, which might see the country move further into a Big Brother society. However, it's likely that users would be able to circumvent the block, if it were to be imposed.

Russian search engine Yandex said in a statement, "In our opinion, the adoption of the law will be another step towards the strengthening of state control over the Internet in Russia, which has a negative impact on the development industry."

This news comes just days after Russia denied that it was planning to block such services in the country. An FSB spokesperson said earlier this month, when questioned about whether it was looking to block services such as Gmail, "Quite the contrary - the development of advanced technology is a natural process that should be welcomed."

It also follows reports that the Russian government seized control of the country's social network this week. µ


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