Russia has completely shut off its access to LinkedIn

17 Nov 2016

Grand Kremlin Palace with the Russian flag. Image: Solodov Alexey/Shutterstock

Russian LinkedIn users are no longer able to gain access to their accounts as of today, after the business social network refused to transfer data on Russian users to servers based in the country.

Users of LinkedIn in Russia are suddenly finding themselves unable to access the site, as discussions between the business social network and the country’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor collapsed.

As recently as 11 November, LinkedIn was trying to arrange a meeting with the regulator to find a compromise that would allow it to keep the site active in the country, where it has approximately 5m users.

The pair had been in prolonged discussions surrounding the country’s government, demanding that all LinkedIn data on its citizens should be stored in servers located within Russian borders, according to a law passed in 2014.

As tensions grew between the two parties, Roskomnadzor has now confirmed in a brief statement that following a decision by the Moscow City Court, access to LinkedIn will now be blocked in Russia for failing to transfer over its data.

In a statement sent to TechCrunch, LinkedIn – currently in the midst of a $26.2bn takeover by Microsoft – confirmed that access is now blocked in the country.

LinkedIn wants to continue negotiations

“LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce. We are starting to hear from members in Russia that they can no longer access LinkedIn,” the company said.

“Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses. We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localisation request.”

Based on statements in the build-up to this sudden decision, it would appear that despite its efforts to meet with Roskomnadzor on 11 November, LinkedIn failed to arrange another last-minute meeting.

Russia joins China in enacting laws and rhetoric, demanding that some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies – including Google, Apple and Microsoft – keep customer data within its own borders.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic