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Russia to Ban Sale of Devices with Foreign Cloud

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A recently passed law in Russia now requires that if a company wishes to sell a device in Russia that it must keep the cloud data of its users within Russia. This would mean that companies like Google, Apple, Xiaomi, Lenovo and others must keep the cloud data of their customers on servers inside of Russia and that the data must not leave the borders of Russia. This is an obvious move by Russia to stifle competition and to force companies to invest in Russian infrastructure and personnel if they wish to compete in the Russia market.

This is also part of Russia not wanting to have Russian cloud data being transmitted through the US where it can be easily intercepted by the NSA. And at the same time, since the server would be located in Russia, it will give Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB and SVR access to the data of Russians and very likely foreigners visiting Russia as well. There were fears of such activities going on during the Russian Winter Olympics in Sochi, but many of those fears were mostly based on fear mongering and conjecture with little evidence.

The website in Russia reporting on this news does mention that Apple is one of the companies that could be hit by this. There’s also a possibility that Google, Samsung or Xiaomi could be hit by this, but some of those companies may have already anticipated this law’s passage and have already taken steps towards compliance. After all, most Android devices utilize Google’s cloud in one way or another and those manufacturers don’t necessarily have power over how Google stores and utilizes the data in the cloud.