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Russia May Block Speedtest Permanently for Violating Personal Data Law

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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According to a report from Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federation has suspected the American service SpeedTest, Ookla, of violating Russian law on Personal Data and might subsequently block the SpeedTest service permanently in the country.

By the Russian Personal Data Law, the SpeedTest service is compelled to protect Russian citizens’ personal data and information received from their mobile devices and not share or transfer such information outside the state jurisdiction.

However, the operator was alleged of leaking Russian users’ location, IP addresses, and Internet connection speed to German servers and thus violating Russian law on Personal Data.

Likewise, the Russian Ministry of Tsifra stated that the agency is aware of SpeedTest’s services infringement. Roskomnadzor has been directed to issue a request to Ookla LLC, requesting information on the location of Russian residents’ personal data.

More than 2 million Russian mobile devices have the SpeedTest app loaded on their devices, accounting for more than 90% of the Russian Internet speed measuring market. 

The SpeedTest has a global monthly audience of 105.2 million users. The United States is in first place in terms of visitors, with 12.5%/visits each month, followed by India at 9.7% and Russia in the third place with 6.8%.

The service is supported by advertisements displayed within the app. The SpeedTest connects to the nearest available mobile operator’s or Wi-Fi network and sends test data packets via its networks, measuring download and upload speeds first.

The ability to identify the user from this information determines whether the collection, storage, and dissemination of information about the user’s location and device violate the law on personal data.

Therefore, if Roskomnadzor finds that the service is still violating the Russian law on personal data protection, the American Internet speed measurement service will be permanently blocked in the country as the investigation is still ongoing.

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