Russian Bill May Ban Facebook, Google, and Other Sites

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) days in Russia may be numbered. Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, passed a bill banning online services that do not store Russian data on Russian soil. If this bill becomes law, some of the world’s largest technology firms would find themselves online outlaws.

The bill’s requirement that data originating in Russia must be stored in Russia is just the beginning. For the data to leave Russia, government approval would be required after it is ensured that the data will remain secure. The bill would affect any foreign online service, which includes social media, websites, and even apps. It could potentially block out parts of the Internet in Russia.

As a possible restriction on Internet access, comparisons to China’s Internet Great Wall have come up. TechCrunch made this point as a part of its coverage of the bill, calling Russia’s efforts “China-like.” China regularly restricts access to certain parts of the Internet through the use of government censors that block websites like Twitter and requests that online services block certain content. China recently effectively blocked Google for days on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

The Russian bill would block access to any website without a Russian server starting in September 2016, if it becomes law. The bill still has to pass in the Federation Council, the higher legislative branch of the Russian government, and be signed into law by the president, who must sign it within 14 days and do it publicly. The English-language, pro-West newspaper The Moscow Times has a detailed version of how a Russian bill becomes law.