Russia tells Facebook to localize user data or be blocked

FILE PHOTO: A 3D model of the Facebook logo is seen in front of a Russian flag in this photo illustration taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 22, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 September 2017
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Russia tells Facebook to localize user data or be blocked

MOSCOW: Russia will block access to Facebook next year unless the social network complies with a law that requires websites which store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
The threat was made by Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, agencies said, the organization which blocked access to LinkedIn’s website last November in order to comply with a court ruling that found the social networking firm guilty of violating the same data storage law.
That case set a precedent for the way foreign Internet firms operate in Russia and other companies are now under pressure from the regulator to comply with the law, which was approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2014 and entered into force in September 2015.
“Everyone needs to abide by the law,” the Interfax news agency cited Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov as telling reporters on Tuesday. “In 2018, everything will be as it should be for sure,” he said, referring to Facebook.
“In any case, we will either get the law implemented or the company will cease to work on the territory of the Russian Federation as unfortunately happened to LinkedIn. There can’t be any exceptions here.”
Twitter Inc. had already notified Roskomnadzor that it would aim to localize the personal data of its users by the middle of 2018, Zharov said.
“We understand clearly that Facebook has a significant number of users on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Zharov was cited as saying. “On the other hand, we understand that this is not a unique service, and that there are other social media.”
Asked to comment on the regulator’s demands for Facebook to localize the data of its Russian users, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US firm had to comply with the law like everyone else.


Arab News moves editorial headquarters to Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018
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Arab News moves editorial headquarters to Riyadh

  • Newspaper to be based at owning group’s corporate office building in Saudi Arabia’s capital
  • Managing Editor Mohammed Al-Sulami promoted to newly created position of Jeddah bureau chief

JEDDAH: Four decades after its establishment in Jeddah, Arab News — the region’s leading English-language daily — is announcing that it is moving its editorial headquarters to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The head office of the newspaper, which today celebrates its 43rd anniversary, will be relocating to the corporate headquarters building of its owning group, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).

The SRMG building — on Makkah Al-Mukarramah road in Riyadh’s Al-Mutamarat district — is also home to the headquarters of several of Arab News’ sister publications, including the Arabic-language business daily Al-Eqtisadiah, Arriyadiyah sports daily and the Saudi bureau of the regional pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

“When Arab News was established in 1975, most embassies and major corporations — including SRMG — were based in Jeddah. Things have changed since and given the magnitude of events and regional decision-making taking place in the Kingdom’s capital, it only makes sense for us to be moving into our owning group’s headquarters in Riyadh,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News


“We at Arab News claim to be The Voice of a Changing Region, and we can’t be that voice if we are not at the heart of this change. This move will bring us closer to local and visiting decision-makers, while our Jeddah bureau will continue to serve as an important regional hub,” he added.

The new address and contact details of the paper has been reflected in both its print and online editions as of today. The official inauguration of the new headquarters in Riyadh will take place at a ceremony to be held later this quarter.

Arab News also announces the promotion of Managing Editor Mohammed Al-Sulami to the newly created role of Jeddah bureau chief, supervising editorial and administration operations for the whole western region of Saudi Arabia. Al-Sulami — a Saudi journalist who has been with the newspaper since 2009 — assumes his new duties as of May 1, 2018.