17:37 GMT +323 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor might raise the issue of blocking Facebook if the social network fails to relocate the Russian citizens' database to the country's territory and comply with Russian laws before the end of 2018, the head of Roskomnadzor said in an interview with the newpaper Izvestia.

    "We will check the company before the end of 2018, and there are several points that should be implemented, these are the location of Russian citizens' database on the territory of Russia, removal of all unlawful content… and compliance with other laws. If the company fails to do any or at least something of these, or the Russian government receives no notification of intent to do these, we will obviously raise the issue of blocking," Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov told the newspaper.

    In February, Zharov held a meeting with Facebook representatives in Moscow to discuss the company’s compliance with the norms and requirements of Russian legislation. He notified the company about a comprehensive inspection in the second half of 2018.

    Until September 1, 2015, foreign companies operating on the Russian market or with Russian customers had been allowed to freely collect and process users' personal data. The amendments to the law on personal data protection effective since then have obliged them to localize the data of Russian users on the territory of Russia. The legislation empowers Roskomnadzor to ban companies in the event of a failure to be compliant with the legal norms.

    READ MORE: Telegram CEO to Spend Millions of Dollars in Fight for 'Digital Freedom'

    Last week, Roskomnadzor ruled to block the Telegram messenger app after the company refused to provide the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) with encryption keys to decipher messages, as required by Russian law. Telegram explained that it was impossible for them to comply because the key to each specific chat is stored on users' devices.

    According to the security service, the messenger is often being used by terrorists to coordinate terror attacks on Russian soil.

     

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