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Saturday, 19 November 2016

LinkedIn blocked in Russia: U.S. is deeply concerned

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The U.S. government is "deeply concerned" over Russia moving to block the U.S.-based online business networking site LinkedIn, with a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow expressing worry the country may put the same restriction on other sites.

Russia's access-block of LinkedIn, which counts around 6 million Russian users out of its global user base of 467 million, became the first major social media service banned under a federal law in the country, Reuters reports.

Russian authorities started to enforce the ban after a court on Thursday upheld an earlier decision that LinkedIn had broken a law mandating Russian citizens' data be housed on servers on Russian soil.
"The United States is deeply concerned by Russia's decision to block access to the website LinkedIn," U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson said, according to Reuters. She also denounced the rule for harming competition and the Russian people, and said the U.S. would like to see Russia restore LinkedIn access immediately.

"This decision is the first of its kind and sets a troubling precedent that could be used to justify shutting down any website that contains Russian user data," Olson said.
Some analysts said the rule may expand to other foreign sites in Russia, such as Facebook and Twitter if they don't host data on Russia-based servers, according to Reuters. While Russian officials have portrayed the law as a security measure, others have seen it as akin to a censorship tool.
LinkedIn said it is "considering all possible ways to resolve the situation" in a message to its Russian users, according to Reuters, while the country's communications minister said "we hope a constructive dialogue can solve this situation." 
Notably, LinkedIn hosts data locally in China, which has a similar requirement and where the company launched a site in 2014.

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