HELSINKI (Reuters) -Finnish and Norwegian regulators said on Tuesday they had banned Russian tech group Yandex and its Netherlands-based partner Ridetech International from transferring to Russia any personal data of customers of Yandex’s Yango ride-hailing app.
“The Finnish DPA (data protection authority) has become aware of a legislative reform that will enter into force in Russia at the beginning of September, under which the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation will have the right to receive data processed in taxi operations,” the regulator said in a statement.
The Yango ride-hailing service, which operates in 14 countries including Finland and Norway, is one of many services offered by Yandex, often dubbed “Russia’s Google”.
“There is an acute risk to privacy as Russian authorities could potentially monitor the movements of Norwegian citizens via Yango,” the Norwegian Data Protection Authority said in a separate statement.
Yango said it was studying the requests from Norwegian and Finnish regulators and intended to fully comply with new requirements. It said it processes data in strict compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and EU legislation.
“The legal regulations of the Russian Federation have no jurisdiction over the international ride-hailing business of Yango and do not apply to Yango users as they make trips and use the app outside of Russia,” Yango said in a statement.
“This will not change after the 1st of September.”
In June, a Moscow court fined Yandex 2 million roubles ($20,810) for repeatedly refusing to provide Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, with information about its users.
Last August Finnish authorities confiscated Yandex’s assets in Finland, including what is believed to be the company’s only data centre outside Russia, after the company’s founder and former chief executive Arkadi Volozh was put on a European Union list of sanctions.
Nasdaq suspended trading in Yandex’s New York-listed securities on Feb. 28 last year, shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
In June this year, the company said it had been granted permission to retain its Nasdaq listing provided its planned corporate restructuring and divestment of its Russian business is concluded by the end of 2023.
The Finnish and Norwegian regulators said their decisions were temporary and initially valid for three months as they had been taken under an urgent procedure set out by the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
($1 = 96.1050 roubles)
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Alexander Marrow in London; Editing by Susan Fenton)