Russia: The controversial data retention regime “Yarovaya Law” has been approved by the President Vladimir Putin. The new law has been imposed and requires all Russian & overseas web-based companies to log citizens’ data for up to a year on servers located in Russia. After enforcement, the UK based VPN service provider Private Internet Access (PIA) has shut down its Russian gateways and stopped all business in Russia.
Russian law enforcement authorities have seized various servers of PIA without any notice. The company defends itself by stating that it is the most outspoken and trusted provider with a zero user activity log policy. However, PIA has confirmed that subscribers are completely secured, and none of the seized servers contained any data that may compromise subscribers’ data privacy.
The new law has worried data privacy advocates and security researchers across Russia as it restricts netizens’ freedom of expression. In addition to this, authorities have adopted a similar regime for individual bloggers, which require bloggers to register themselves upon reaching a specified number of followers and readers.
Companies who don’t comply with the new law will be liable for a penalty of up to 1 million rubles or $15,700 USD. In past, we had witnessed Russia’s dominant media agency “Roskomnadzor” threatening to ban Wikipedia due to presence of material related to Marijuana on its Russian site. Roskomnadzor may push internet providers to restrict access to violators.
#PIA will not operate in RU after their servers in Russia were seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process.
— Steve R. (@Steve_OMG) July 16, 2016
Despite massive criticism, various industry giants have agreed to house data on Russian-based servers. The list includes eBay, PayPal, Lenovo, Samsung and Uber. However, due to the implications of new law, several companies including PIA have optioned to protect users’ data privacy and discontinue their services in Russia.