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U.S. Criticizes Russia For Blocking LinkedIn

The United States government is “deeply concerned” about Moscow’s decision to block the U.S.-based professional-networking site LinkedIn.

Maria Olson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, told the TASS news agency on November 18 that the decision “sets a troubling precedent that could be used to justify shutting down any website that contains Russian user data.”

She described Russia’s 2014 law requiring websites to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in the country as “anticompetitive and counterproductive.”

The website on the same day issued a statement saying that its activities “fully comply” with Russian legislation. It added that Russian users of the site can get full refunds at any time.

On November 17, the state-owned Sberbank told TASS that the blocking of LinkedIn “will significantly complicate the work of Sberbank” in recruiting new employees.

LinkedIn was founded in 2004 and has more than 400 million users. It was purchased by computer giant Microsoft in June for $26.2 billion.

Russia’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor ordered Internet providers to block the site on November 17 after a Moscow court ruled that LinkedIn was not in compliance with the law on personal-data storage.

Based on reporting by TASS, RIA-Novosti, Reuters, and Interfax