Business and employment-oriented social networking service has been banned in Russia as the country’s communications regulator has officially banned the social network for professionals because it violated a regulation that has to do with personal data storage.
The Russia’s law on personal data storage came into effect in September 2015, and according to reports, the site was inaccessible from Russia on Thursday.
LinkedIn had been found to be in violation of a rule requiring data on Russian citizens to be stored on servers inside the country. While two different courts had previously ruled against LinkedIn on the matter, this is the first time the law has been enforced against a US-based social network.
LinkedIn, which is being acquired by Microsoft for $26 billion, said it was aware that users could not access the site. The company said it wanted to meet with communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, to discuss the data storage issue.
“Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses,” he said, adding that “We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request”.
Roskomnadzor spokesman, Vadim Ampelonsky, has told the Interfax news agency that the regulator was working out the logistics of the meeting.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said shortly after the ban was announced that “Russian institutions are under the law and this company also has to observe the law,” adding that the Kremlin, the government of the Russian federation, would not get involved in the decision.
While Moscow Kremlin has increasingly been at loggerheads with Western tech companies, the U.S. has accused Russia of hacking major U.S. political institutions during the 2016 election.
While Google was found to be in violation of Russian antitrust rules in 2015 over the apps that come with its Android smartphones, last month, a 29-year-old Russian was arrested in Prague on suspicion of hacking LinkedIn, Dropbox and a third web service. He was wanted by the FBI in connection with the theft of 117 million LinkedIn passwords and login credentials.
LinkedIn has shown a willingness in the past to comply with foreign regulations. In 2014, it agreed to censor content on its China network deemed sensitive by the government. Google, Facebook and Twitter, which have not taken similar steps, remain blocked by Beijing.