The Central Federal District Department of the Russian IT and communications has announced to inspect Microsoft and other IT companies as well as banks and retailers for compliance with the Russian personal data keeping laws.
According to a report by russian news agency TASS the regulator plans to hold over 1,000 scheduled inspections to check compliance with the law on keeping of Russian users’ personal data on servers in Russia.
Microsoft´s russian unit is due in March together with other companies like the SuperJob job search engine, Ostrovok.ru online hotel booking service and Sirena-Travel booking and ticket selling solutions provider.
Inspections will be realized by Roskomnadzor which is Russia´s Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications.
Yearly inspections by the Russian body is a common practice. Although no gross violations were reported in 2015 and Microsoft should not expect any problems, there have been severe cases where Roskomnadzor has taken strong measures against foreign IT companies.
In 2014 Roskomnadzor blocked GitHub several times for suicide-related content which caused a major outrage among russian developers.
Another takedown affected Wikipedia in summer last year for an article about narcotic drugs. When Wikipedia did not remove the article in question the Russian government instructed all national ISPs to block the whole Russian version of Wikipedia. The issue was resolved by re-writing the article based on scientific facts and changing its URL.