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Kremlin considers postponing entry into force of law on storing personal data

July 13, 2015, 13:14 UTC+3
The issue was raised at a meeting with representatives of big companies and international business associations in St. Petersburg within the framework of the International Economic Forum
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©  ITAR-TASS/Denis Vyshinskiy

MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin said on Monday it is considering postponing the entry into force of a law requiring foreign Internet companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens within the country's borders but no final decision had been made so far.

"Indeed, this issue has been raised at a meeting with representatives of big companies and international business associations in St. Petersburg within the framework of the International Economic Forum," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS. "Taking into account concerns expressed by some representatives, the president ordered to clarify whether these concerns are well-founded".

"The issue is under consideration," Peskov said, adding that related proposals would be submitted to President Vladimir Putin.

"As far as I know, no final decision has been taken so far," the spokesman said. "We are aware there is concern among our foreign partners and we take this into account," he said, noting also that there were partners abroad who had already expressed their readiness to move Russian data onto servers based in Russia.

"A position will be formulated with due regard to all these factors," Peskov added.

Russian business daily Kommersant said on Monday that the Association of European Businesses (AEB) had asked the Russian president to delay by one year until September 1, 2016, the penalty Internet companies would face under the new law.

Signed last July, the law on personal data storage was initially supposed to come into force in September 2016, but then the authorities rescheduled the enactment of the law to January 2015.

The deadline, moved to January 1, 2015, from September 1, 2016, was said to create a near-impossible challenge for U.S.-based firms that have millions of Russian users but generally store data on servers outside the country. It was reported then that the bill moving up the deadline would be returned to the lower house of parliament for a repeat reading to take into account industry concerns and that the deadline would be pushed back to the original data.

The law means that all Internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google will have to transfer the personal data of Russian users to Russia-based data centres or face being blocked from the web. Under the new rules, Roskomnadzor, the state communications watchdog, is empowered to draw up blacklists of websites refusing to use domestic servers.

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