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21 Jan, 2019 13:48

Facebook & Twitter set to face fines over legal violations in Russia

Facebook & Twitter set to face fines over legal violations in Russia

The Russian telecom watchdog has opened legal proceedings against social media giants for defying local data protection laws.

Facebook and Twitter failed to provide “tangible information” in relation to their compliance with national laws that require the companies to keep Russian users’ data in the country, a spokesperson for Roscomnadzor told local media.

The tech giants instead handed “formal answers” to the authorities’ previous inquiries. The agency also pledged to take legal action against the internet companies.

Watchdog chief Alexander Zharov said earlier that the authorities had asked Facebook and Twitter to provide an account of their compliance with national legislation, which governs the storage of personal data. Failure to respond to the request or providing insufficient information could result in fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($75) and the commencement of administrative cases.

Russian privacy laws that came into force in 2015 require foreign online service providers to store Russian users’ personal data on servers located within the country’s borders.

Also on rt.com Facebook may face a record fine over privacy lapses – reports

Several companies, including Viber and eBay, moved or began to move servers containing personal data to Russia in order to comply with the legislation. Firms that refused to comply were blocked. These included LinkedIn, BlackBerry, Line, Imo, and WeChat.

Facebook and Twitter are reportedly negotiating the issue with Russian authorities, as the companies have not yet moved their servers to Russia. In 2017, the Roscomnadzor chief considered blocking Facebook over its alleged violation of the privacy law, as the company “continued to consider” its options in the face of new legislation. Twitter, on the other hand, was afforded some leniency because it came up with an official letter.

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