Rejecting an appeal from the company, a Moscow municipal court confirmed today an earlier court decision to consider LinkedIn as violating the Russian legislation on personal data storage, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

As a consequence, the telecom regulator Roskomnadzor — which had initiated the legal procedure against LinkedIn — will require operators to block access to the site from Russia. This may happen as early as next week, according to Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vadim Ampelovsky.

Russia’s new legislation on personal data, which came into force in September 2015, requires that companies store Russian citizens’ personal data only on servers located on Russian territory (see white paper by EWDN and EY).

Many Russian and foreign organizations, including AlibabaAppleBooking.com, and Google, have already transferred user data from foreign data centers to Russia or announced plans to do so, while others have not complied so far.

Virtual space or Russian territory?

LinkedIn launched a Russian version of its platform five years ago. Earlier this year, the soon-to-be Microsoft subsidiary had not provided any “substantial answer” to two inquiries from Roskomnadzor, according to the regulator.

In addition, Roskomnadzor pointed to “big disorders with leaks of personal data from LinkedIn since 2010,” as stated by Ampelovsky last month.

In statements made at the court hearing, LinkedIn argued that Russian legislation does not apply to LinkedIn users, “who are factually located in the [virtual space] outside the Russian Federation, and provide their personal data there.”

As reported by TV Rain, LinkedIn denied that it violates Russian users’ rights in any way, since they voluntarily accept the site’s terms of use.

These arguments proved insufficient to convince the Moscow court.

This post first appeared on East-West Digital News, an international resource about innovation in Eastern Europe.