Russia hasn’t been very fond of western technology companies in the recent years – Microsoft has been suffering the blow of America’s foreign policy actions since the past few months.
LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, is going through the same; a law in Russia requires every technology company to store the data of Russian users within the Russian borders.
This isn’t something unique to Russia – Germany also has similar laws, and Microsoft did set up a data center in Germany last year.
Meanwhile, the American government and companies such as Microsoft themselves have been accusing Russian hackers of various cyber security attacks in the past few months – it seems Russia is finally cracking down on the cyber front, by ditching the western software and adopting a cyber-offense strategy.
It’s unclear why the Russian court decided to ban LinkedIn specifically – companies such as Twitter and Facebook do not store their data in Russian servers either; perhaps – because it is a lower court – it didn’t have the capacity to enforce the law for other companies in this particular case.
The case being in a local court, also means LinkedIn can dispute it at a higher court, which Microsoft might decide to do – though there is no indication of this at the moment.
There are pros and cons to data protection; jurisdiction is a complicated matter in this globalized world, but one thing is sure about it – if it’s within your borders, it’s yours to do whatever.
The same logic applies to data – except, data doesn’t stay at one place. The internet has made it possible to send and receive data across the globe within the span of 500 milliseconds or less – how are you going to stop that?
If you live in the United Kingdom, and your files are stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive on a server in the United States – which country has the jurisdiction to ask Microsoft for the files? The United States, of course – and that’s a problem.
It is the job of a government to protect its citizens – and a citizen’s privacy is a part of that protection. Of course, if the servers are in the United Kingdom, it also gives the British government ability to probe Microsoft about any UK citizen at any time – which could be a privacy nightmare, if you are terrified of your own government.
That’s the pro and con – if your data is stored in your country, a foreign government cannot look at your data, but your own government can easily do so; that’s what scares away companies such as Microsoft from setting up servers in any country that asks for it.