Apple and Google forced to remove the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn app from Russian appstores

Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor has started to enforce a proposed block of LinkedIn in the country, after the social network failed to transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country, violating a law. This recently-passed Russian law requires that any company holding data on Russians house that data within Russia. Russia began blocking LinkedIn’s website last November under that law, which some critics argue is an indirect form of censorship.linkedin.gif

While the law faced criticism from both political opponents and Internet companies alike, most large tech giants operating in Russia complied with the new regulations. The list of complying firms includes Google and Apple, both of whom have now agreed to remove the LinkedIn app from the Russian versions of their respective mobile app stores.

Prior to the removal, when the Russian government had blocked access to the website, it kind of messed up the way the app worked anyways. What this means is that the apps were no longer functional already, but Russia’s insistence of the removal of the apps from the app stores could be setting a precedent, one that neither Apple nor Google might particularly like.

Google’s (and Apple’s) decision to comply with the LinkedIn takedown notice is interpreted as both a show of goodwill towards Moscow and a demonstration of the company’s international policy of cooperating with foreign governments and adhering to local data protection laws.

There have been similar requests made in the past in other countries of other companies, like several years ago where India insisted that companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter setup servers in the country. Though some American companies have stuck to their free-speech principles when called on to censor content, that resolve could be seen as weakening.

Earlier this week, Apple removed the New York Times from its app store following a request from Chinese authorities claiming the app was in violation of regulations. China is known for banning digital sites like Facebook and Google that it believes harm its national security or promote misinformation. The Wall Street Journal’s Chinese-language site has been blocked since 2014.

It is unclear as to what LinkedIn plans to do (or if they will comply), but the company has expressed their disappointment in the decision and according to Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for the company, “It denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses.”

Do you think it is okay for countries to ban such services from foreign companies, in order to protect their citizen’s data? Who would you trust more with your data, your government or Google?

Via : NYTimes

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