Foreign Companies in No Hurry to Move Personal Data to Russia

  • Some waiting to establish if law's enforcement will be severe
  • Law allows authorities to block access to a violator’s website

Foreign technology companies aren’t rushing to move their Russian customers’ personal data to local servers, as required this month by a law backed by President Vladimir Putin, according to data-center operator DataPro.

The law requires companies such as Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. to store the data in Russia to protect it from foreign security services from Sept. 1, following former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about U.S. government surveillance activities.

“Some companies are moving a minimum of data to Russia, while others are totally ignoring the law so far, waiting to establish if its enforcement will be severe,” said DataPro Chief Executive Officer Evgeny Bogdanchikov. “They probably don’t want to overpay.”

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has promised to probe 317 companies by year-end on the data storage requirements. The law carries small fine of as much as 10,000 rubles ($154), but also allows authorities to block access to a violator’s website from Russia if they don’t follow the law. The Association of European Businesses has asked Putin to delay its implementation, according to a Kommersant report. A recent case with Wikipedia showed that Russia is reluctant to block popular sites.

About 10 percent of companies have met Tuesday’s deadline, according to a study by fiber rental firm Circuit Exchange, which surveyed Russia’s data centers. 

Microsoft’s services for individual users aren’t provided in a way that would make them subject to the new law, according to an e-mailed response to questions. The Redmond, Washington-based company is working with Russian partners to make sure that corporate clients in the country comply with the legislation and keep using cloud services, it said.

A Facebook representative denied a Vedomosti report from last week that the company had declined to move personal data to Russia. Google’s Russian press office declined to say if the company has moved personal data to local servers.

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