Russian authorities have officially demanded the removal of the LinkedIn smartphone app from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. The government blocked the main website last November.
Russia deems the website unlawful because it does not comply with the country’s harsh data rules.
Any website that intends to use personal data from Russian citizens (in Russia) must do so within Russian physical servers.
LinkedIn has reportedly failed to respond to Russia’s bid to relocate them inside the country, which ultimately caused the ruling against them.
Russia’s demand puts Apple and Google in a delicate position
Both companies are great champions of free speech and user privacy, which means they also uphold anti-censorship values that their customers rely on heavily.
Complying with Russia’s demands might undermine their reputation but, as of now, LinkedIn has officially disappeared from both app stores.
Neither Google nor Apple has confirmed they actively removed the app from their stores, only reiterating that they had indeed received pressure to do so from the government.
Google emphasized that “it adheres to local laws” when on foreign soil. Apple did not comment any further but did reveal that Russia had already asked them to remove LinkedIn a month ago.
LinkedIn’s ban thickens tensions with the US
Many American internet companies operating in Russia have allegedly conducted their business in the ‘unlawful’ manner stated above (their servers are overseas).
However, it was LinkedIn that became blocked in a surprise move from a law that Russian regulators rarely enforce, apparently. The Roskomnadzor has not disclosed any official statements.
Following America’s claim of Russia’s direct involvement with the 2016 Presidential Election, this cyber-affair can only make things worse. A declassified report, released last Friday, put the spotlight back on the growing concerns towards Russia’s alleged hacking.
Internet censorship continues around the world
Most countries now have some form of internet regulation law, mostly to protect the right’s of the citizens and deter cybercrime, but also to keep political dissent silent and unable to thrive when necessary.
Apple also revealed in recent statements that China had asked them to block The New York Times. Turkey repeatedly blocks social media websites and controls YouTube content.
“Internet free speech and internet freedom are increasingly under attack all over the globe, and not just from authoritarian regimes,” said Robert M. McDowell, former FCC member. “It appears to be a one-way ratchet with speech control getting tighter.”
Source: The New York Times