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For now, Tinder’s registration only acknowledges that it is storing the data in Russia.
But O’Brien says the move is about Russia “asserting broad jurisdictional control over personal data.”Because Tinder is an American company, prior to the law, Russia couldn’t legally access that data without working through the American judicial system.
Natalia Krapiva, legal counsel at digital rights group Access Now, says the Russian government chose Tinder to send a message: “This is a way to show bigger companies to comply.”In April, Russia fined Facebook and Twitter 3,000 rubles each (a whopping ) after they refused requests to store data on Russian servers.
While the fines are laughably low right now, there are reports that Russia is threatening to raise them significantly, charging as much as 1 percent of a company’s annual revenue in Russia for an infraction.
But Suzanne Spaulding, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies warns, those holes won’t last.
“Over time Russia is going to get better at this,” she says.
In the crowded and competitive world of social media apps, any kind of blocking—even if it isn’t 100 percent successful—could still impact Tinder’s success in Russia.
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In March, the Russian Parliament adopted rules that allow the government to imprison anyone who spreads disinformation or insults a politician online.
Russia is part of a growing trend on countries that are exercising more control over the internet.
That’s no joke for a company like Tinder, which, according to the analytics firm App Annie, is the seventh-highest-grossing app for i Phone users in Russia.
Krapiva speculates that Russia is enforcing its data-sharing policies by exerting pressure on smaller companies that are easier targets—and will feel the impact more acutely—than behemoths like Twitter and Facebook.