‘No one is above the law’: Russian internet watchdog threatens to block Facebook

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
By Paul Martin

26 Sep, 2017

The head of Russian state internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has told reporters that Facebook must fulfill the demand to store personal data of Russian citizens on Russian territory or face forceful blocking as early as in 2018.

“No one is above the law. In any case, either we will force them into observing the law or this company will stop working on the territory of the Russian Federation. There are no exceptions here,” Aleksandr Zharov told Interfax when facing the question about the terms in which Facebook must bring their facilities in line with the Russian law demanding that all personal data of Russian citizens is stored on servers physically located inside Russia.

“We will insist that the Facebook company fully observed the 242 Law. It will become precise in 2018,” Zharov said.

“We realize very well that Facebook has a lot of users on Russian territory and on the other hand we realize that this is hardly a unique service, there are other social networks,”
he added.

However, Zharov told reporters that no inspections of Facebook were planned before the end of this year. “We don’t have Facebook in our 2017 inspections schedule. In 2018 we will think about it and maybe we will launch an inspection.”

The official also told the press that Twitter had contacted Roskomnadzor with an official letter in which they promised to bring the company’s operations in compliance with Russian laws in mid-2018. “We are acting on a goodwill basis here, because they have themselves sent us an official letter and we will not launch any inspections before this time. We will check them right after this time arrives,” he stated.

Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov told RIA Novosti that the authorities would have no other choice but to start blocking Facebook if the company refuses to act in accordance with Russian law.

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