Russian operators push foreign firms to share data storage costs

Russian operators push foreign firms to share data storage costs

Russian operators have called for legislation obliging foreign internet firms such as Facebook and Google to contribute to the costs associated with a new law requiring data to be stored domestically.

The proposals are currently under review by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor, reports Reuters. If brought into force, they would allow Russian operators to claim compensation from overseas firms after the data storage rules are enacted in October, as well as enabling Roskomnadzor to throttle speed and access to websites and services within Russia if the foreign firms do not comply.

The data storage laws are intended to provide the state with greater insight into the communications of citizens. Operators will be required to store call, SMS and internet data domestically for up to six months.

Last month, Russian operators stated that the new law could force them to increase tariffs for customers by as much as 10%. However, if their proposals are adopted then it could be the internet giants, rather than consumers, who end up footing the bill. Neither Google nor Facebook have made any public comment on the proposals.

Rostelecom has publicly backed the proposals, while Megafon has skirted the issue, saying that all interested parties should have a hand in internet resource development in Russia – not just operators. MTS, VimpelCom and Tele2 have made no comment.

The country’s three largest operators – Megafon, MTS and VimpelCom – have estimated that developing and maintaining a domestic data storage system in line with the new law would cost around 145 billion rubles (£1.7 billion) across the next five years.

Currently, Russian operators do not have the infrastructure required to store the specified data, and would have to use foreign technology to comply with the legislation. This would run counter to a directive from President Vladimir Putin, who has ordered the use of locally manufactured equipment.

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