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Samsung Allegedly Agrees to Comply with Russia's Data-Localization Law

Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

“Falling into place.” Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

According to the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, the South-Korean tech company Samsung is currently in the process of transferring the personal data of its Russia-based users to a data server in Moscow, in order to comply with a new data-localization law that takes effect at the end of the summer, requiring websites and certain apps to store all user data on servers located inside Russia.

According to Vedomosti, Samsung is renting storage from a company called DataPro, which is partly owned by the relatives of Sergey Bogdanchikov, the former CEO of Rosneft, Russia's powerful state-controlled oil group.

Samsung has refused to comment on Vedomosti’s claims.

Speculation that Samsung will bow to Russia’s new data-localization demands comes amid rumors that several other prominent tech companies have agreed to move some of their users’ data to servers in Russia.

Earlier this week, the Chinese manufacturer Lenovo announced that it’s begun transferring clients’ personal data to servers in Russia that the company itself owns. So far, relocating this data has cost roughly $50,000, Lenovo’s vice president and general manager in Russia told Vedomosti.

On June 6, Russian officials claimed that has also agreed to move some of its users’ personal data to servers located in Russia. Speaking for itself, later issued a statement acknowledging the meeting with the Russian government, but implied that the company is still keeping its options open. “This law shouldn’t affect us,”’s press service said. “We’re working on a solution that will allow us to comply [in Russia] with the law.”

The general director of Acer’s Russia branch says his company is busy trying to determine if the kind of data it collects falls under Russia’s new localization requirements. If so, he says, Acer is planning either to move the data to Russia, or to purge the information outright.

There are other examples, as well. eBay also says it will send Russian user data to be stored in Russia, and there are unconfirmed reports that the Chinese e-commerce company AliExpress and even Google have agreed to obey the new law and store user data inside Russia. (Google has said reports on this subject are “inaccurate.”)

While Russian officials regularly exaggerate the degree to which foreign Internet resources comply with Russian laws, there does seem to be a surge of several high-profile websites suddenly and unexpectedly conceding to Moscow. Whether this trend represents the Russian government’s growing influence or simply tech companies’ pliability should be clear by September 1, 2015, when Russia’s new data-localization law finally takes effect.

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