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Russia passes law requiring online personal data to be stored inside its borders

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A new law passed by Russian parliament today requires that internet companies store the personal data of Russian users inside the country's borders, a move that could make it easier for government officials to keep tabs on citizens. Members of parliament have defended the bill as a measure to protect internet users in the country whose details are often kept in the United States or elsewhere, and a never-ending cascade of revelations over US spying and Russia's own protection of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have likely made the bill easier to pass.

The new law requires that companies doing business in Russia open data centers inside the country by 2016 or face being blocked; a number of high-profile companies including Twitter have no local presence, and it's unclear whether Russia's move will spur any action. The country has already shown a willingness to block sites that don't meet its guidelines, and recent demands that bloggers register with government officials have tensions over internet freedom running high. In all likelihood, bringing the personal data of its citizens closer to regulators won't assuage fears that a clampdown is growing.