Russia’s parliament has passed a new amendment that forces Internet firms such as Facebook, Google, Skype and Twitter to physically store all electronic data involving its citizens within the country.
The amendment to Russia’s existing anti-terrorism legislation was passed by the Duma on Tuesday and requires email, online messaging and social network sites to keep six months of data for potential use by Russian state intelligence and security agencies.
Internet companies face having their services blocked in Russia unless they comply with the “Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information” amendment and keep local archives of data such as search histories, tweets and status updates. The amendment also requires that bloggers and online commentators and activists “place on their website […] their name and initials, the email address for sending him a legally meaningful message”.
Under current legislation, Russian authorities have to submit lawful mutual legal assistance requests to access data stored outside its borders, though these requests can be denied by other countries.
In a statement about the amendment, Russian-based ISP Yandex said: “In our opinion, the adoption of the law will be another step towards the strengthening of state control over the Internet in Russia, which has a negative impact on the development industry”.
The amendment now needs approval from Russian President Vladimir Putin before it is passed into law.