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IT watchdog hopes Microsoft will return LinkedIn to Russia

December 19, 2016, 15:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In early December, Microsoft officially closed the deal on the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 bln

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© Sergei Konkov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Head of Russia’s telecom and IT watchdog Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov hopes that Microsoft, which acquired LinkedIn business social network, will take steps to return the network to Russia.

In an interview with Russia’s NTV channel he said:

"LinkedIn said that they will consider whether to observe this law (on personal data localization - TASS) or not. I think the reason behind this stance is quite simple: the company is on the stage of sale. The EU has approved its acquisition by Microsoft. I hope that by the time the deal is finalized, Microsoft will take efforts for the return of the social network (to Russia - TASS)," he said.

"Never mind: our resources will work. I think that any country should protect first all its own companies. Protectionism is quite appropriate here," he added.

The head of Roskomnadzor refuted a conspiracy theory, which claims that blocking of LinkedIn was the first shot and Roskomnadzor tested its methods before targeting bigger social networks.

"In fact the reason was different - we noticed that the largest number of personal data leaks was from LinkedIn," he said.

Zharov reminded that in 2012 more than 170,000 accounts with contacts of users and email addresses turned to be on open access.

In early December, Microsoft officially closed the deal on the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 bln.

In mid-November Roskomnadzor banned LinkedIn and instructed telecommunications operators to block the world's largest professional network. The Moscow City Court earlier rejected the appeal of LinkedIn against its blocking in Russia for violating the law on personal data localization. Under the law, the personal data of Russians can be processed and stored only in Russia.

Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky said earlier the watchdog had sent requests to the network informing it the need to relocate servers to Russia twice, but received no response.

The social network says that the LinkedIn Ireland company is responsible for processing the personal data kept outside of the US while Roskomnadzor has filed a lawsuit against LinkedIn Corporation.

LinkedIn social networking service was founded in December 2002 by US entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, who was vice president of the PayPal payments system. LinkedIn has more than 400 million accounts.

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