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Foreign companies should keep Russians’ personal data on servers in Russia from 2015

September 24, 2014, 19:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Experts are concerned that companies will not manage to build their data storages before 2015 and those operating in Russia will not be enough

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© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s State Duma lower house of parliament has approved the second reading of a bill obliging foreign companies to keep Russians’ personal data only on servers in Russia starting from January 1, 2015.

This was planned earlier that this rule would take effect starting from September 2016. But, in the view of authors of the initiative, the deadline for the regulation entering into force delayed until January 2015 will promote “more urgent and effective exercising of rights of Russian citizens for preserving personal data and observing the secrecy of correspondence in information and telecommunications networks.”

In July, the lower house has endorsed a law compelling foreign companies which particularly run mail exchange services, social networks and search engines, post personal data of Russian users only on servers in Russia. Companies will have to lease or build their own data centers in Russia that, in the view of specialists, may complicate their operation.

Experts are concerned that companies will not manage to build their data storages before 2015 and those operating in Russia will not be enough. Meanwhile, the State Duma pledged that there would be enough possibilities for all. “We realize that from the start of the next year someone will hardly be able to build its data center, but if companies want to work in Russia, possibilities are quite large here, including in terms of leasing,” one of authors of amendments from the Communist Party Alexander Yushchenko said.

Under the bill adopted on Wednesday, when collecting personal data, including through the Internet starting from 2015 “an operator should provide for registration, systemizing, accumulation, storage, specifying [update, changes], extraction of personal data of Russian citizens with the use of databases located in Russia.”

The specific State Duma committee for information policy noted that new rules would not embrace popular foreign services related with foreign hotel, taxi, ticket booking and etc. “If someone wants to book a hotel room, rent a car, travel abroad, he or she can use transfer of trans-border data as before, but should give a personal permission for this transaction,” first deputy chairman of the committee Leonid Levin pledged.

The bill also envisaged some concrete sanctions. For instance, domain names and Internet addresses which will violate regulations of this law are offered to put on a special register of rights breakers of personal data holders. Russian telecommunications supervising agency should keep this register and a valid legal act will give a reason for putting on the list. Meanwhile, violation of the law will entail a restricted access to this resource, but after violations are eliminated the access will be restored.

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