Twitter has agreed to store the personal data of Russian nationals on servers located within Russia in order to comply with a data security law, a state agency has claimed.
The San Francisco-based social media company sent a letter expressing its “readiness to localise databases on the territory of Russia by the middle of 2018”, the Russian state communications oversight agency told Izvestia newspaper.
The 2015 data security law requires companies to store Russians’ “personal data” in Russia, ostensibly to reduce dependence on foreign technology.
It has caused widespread concern that it puts users’ personal information at risk of being accessed by Russian intelligence services.
US social network LinkedIn was banned under the law in 2016.
Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Agreeing to move users’ information to Russia would be a volte-face for Twitter.
“The last thing they need now is to be seen cooperating with the Russian secret services, and the Russian data localisation law is exactly that … to provide backdoors for the FSB,” said Andrei Soldatov, the author of a book about Moscow’s Internet surveillance.
Twitter declined to comment on the report.
Credit: Dmitri Beliakov/For The Telegraph
In September, the head of the communications agency, who has since been arrested in a fraud case, threatened to close down Facebook if it didn’t obey the legislation, days after Facebook said it would show Congress advertisements purchased by a Russian “troll factory” during the US election.
Both Facebook and Twitter have admitted that Russian companies bought adverts on the social networks around the US election and have insisted they are doing more to combat interference from the Kremlin.
The Kremlin has been trying to tighten control of the internet.
A law came into effect this month attempting to ban anonymous web surfing and messaging, and the FSB has been trying to force the Telegram messaging service to hand over encryption keys.