Facebook, Twitter Pressed by Russia over Data Storage Law

Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has opened administrative proceedings against the U.S. social-media sites Twitter and Facebook for allegedly failing to comply with a controversial law requiring them to store users’ personal data on servers in Russia, The Independent reported.

The agency said on Monday that the two internet giants had not provided concrete plans on how they intend to comply with the legislation.

“The companies controlling the Facebook and Twitter social networks have provided only formal answers to our demands that they confirm the localization of personal databases of Russian users in Russia,” the Roskomnadzor press service said in a statement.

The agency’s head Aleksandr Zharov warned the companies in December that they were not in compliance with the Russian law.

Roskomnadzor received responses before the January 17 deadline Zharov imposed, but found them insufficient.

Facebook and Twitter are not facing serious punishment, though. Under the administrative proceeding, the companies could be fined 5,000 rubles ($75) and assigned a deadline of from six months to one year to demonstrate their compliance with the law.

Citing the fight against terrorism as a reason, the Russian government adopted the law on personal data in September 2015. It requires domestic and foreign companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia.

Authored by lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, the legislation requires that mobile phone operators and internet companies store recordings of users’ calls and online activities for six months.

On its adoption, the law was severely criticised by civil liberty advocates who argued that the availability of stored data to Russian security services could be viewed as infringement of privacy, also conflicting with EU regulations.

Complying with the law is predicted to burden telecom and online companies with an estimated $1.5 billion in costs.