This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 5, 2015:
On December 31, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the latest version of his country’s “personal data law” that, starting September 1, 2015, will require all companies to store data about Russian users only on computer servers inside the country. That way, according to the New York Times, “it will be easier for the government to get access to it.”
Whether those companies — Facebook, Twitter, and Google, among others — will comply is an open question. When Putin’s Internet “regulator” Roskomnadzor demanded that Facebook take down a page promoting a rally in support of political activist Alexei Navalny (whom the Wall Street Journal called “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”), Facebook complied. But within hours dozens of copycat pages popped up elsewhere, creating even more publicity for the January 15 event.