​Apple reportedly takes up Moscow datacentre to comply with Russia's personal data law

Apple has reportedly used new datacentre space to meet the requirements of a personal data law which came into force this month.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple has reportedly capitulated to Kremlin demands that it store Russians' iCloud user data locally.

According to Russian newspaper Kommesant, the iPhone maker has agreed to take up space at a Moscow datacentre operated by IXcellerate to comply with Russia's new personal data law.

The law, which was introduced in January and came into effect on September 1, falls heavily on cloud and online service providers since it requires all companies that process data about Russian citizens do so on infrastructure within Russian territory.

It was also reportedly linked to Google's decision last December to shut down a 50-person engineering unit in Moscow.

News of Apple's Moscow datacentre follows reports from Russia earlier this year that the nation was considering a ban the iPhone due to iCloud storing user data on US soil.

iCloud of course is integral the Apple's iOS hardware offerings, which besides acting as a file backup service, backs up iMessage communications and enables features in Find My iPhone.

"Hypothetically, if Apple services were blocked in Russia, it would have caused great dissatisfaction and social tensions among the Russian-speaking users," Sergei Plugotarenko, director of Russia's Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC), told Kommersat.

A survey by analyst firm Gartner earlier this year found that 19 percent of businesses with Russian users were considering withdrawing from the country due to the requirements, while a third were willing to appoint a local IT provider to manage data storage and processing in order to comply.

Among the companies said to have already complied with the law are eBay, and hotel booking site Booking. com, which has also reportedly taken up space at IXcellerate.

As Plugotarenko has pointed out previously, the law is a fairly black and white affair for companies processing Russian's personal data. Companies that don't comply are entered into a registry of violators and their websites will be blocked.

Apple did not respond to request for comment.

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