U.S. Worried Over LinkedIn Being Blocked in Russia

The United States government on Friday said it was very concerned over the decision by Russia to block the public’s access to LinkedIn the networking site. The U.S. said it created a precedent, which could be used to justify the blocking of other online sites that are operating in Russia.

LinkedIn, which is headquartered in the U.S., is the first social network of significance that has been blocked under a new measure in Russia that requires companies holding data of Russian citizens to store it on servers that are in Russia.

Analysts specializing in Internet services said that other tech companies including Twitter and Facebook could also have access blocked unless they move their data of account holders onto servers located in Russia.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has said the Washington has urged authorities in Russia to restore the access to LinkedIn immediately and that the restriction was bad for competition and the people of Russia.

On Friday, all those attempting to gain access to LinkedIn’s website through telecoms operator in Russia received a message that said, “Access to the resource you have requested has been restricted.”

Other users that were on Vimpelcom another big telecoms operator attempted to gain access to LinkedIn and were unsuccessful as well.

The government of Russia said that the new requirements were designed to make sure that personal data for consumer in Russia was properly protected. The government said the only way they guarantee it is done is if the servers where it is stored are located within Russian jurisdiction.

Critics have said that the new measure is an attack on the different social networks operating in Russia, which has tightened control more and more over the Internet.

However, government officials in Russia deny they are practicing censorship.

In one message sent by email to its users in Russia, LinkedIn said that it regretted the Russian government’s decision to restrict access and was trying to set up meetings with the regulator of telecoms.

The company has more than 6 million users who are registered in Russia. Authorities in Russia started to take action following the rejection earlier this month by a court of an appeal that LinkedIn lodged against a ruling earlier that the site should be restricted.

A CFO of Mail.ru a company that operates many of the most popular services on the Internet in Russia said there were likely to be other actions taken against firms that are non-compliant.

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