Russia has passed a series of new 'anti-terrorism' laws that will make services like Skype illegal unless companies change their practices within six months.
The new laws require that service operators such as Skype, Facebook and Google's Gmail store Russian user data on servers that are located in the country. Why? Well, if Russian authorities want access to this data, they need the servers to be located on their soil so that they can legally request the information.
For Russians, this is a significant move that will apparently give their government far greater control over Internet usage, as they are compelling those that provide services like Skype to host the data on Russian soil. Yandex, a Russian based search engine, had the following to say about the passing of the laws:
In our opinion, the adoption of the law will be another step towards the strengthening of state control over the Internet in Russia, which has a negative impact on the development industry.
For Internet users in Russia, this is obviously a big step towards Big Brother having complete control over the Internet and what information is shared on the services. If Microsoft and other services fail to comply, the worst case scenario for users would be for ISPs to be ordered to block these applications and services. However, much like users in China using VPNs to bypass these restrictions, we would suspect that these services would become quite popular in Russia for users looking to utilize these services.