Finland lifts ban on transferring Yandex data to Russia

OSLO (Reuters) – Finland’s data protection regulator said on Tuesday it had lifted a temporary ban on Russian tech group Yandex and Dutch-based partner Ridetech from transferring to Russia the personal data of customers of Yandex’s Yango ride-hailing app.

The emergency ban was announced in August in response to Russian legislation which Finland at the time believed would give Russia’s Federal Security Service the right to receive data from Finnish users processed in taxi operations.

But the Finnish regulator on Tuesday said new information showed that the Russian legislation did not apply to taxi services and that the ban, which had been due to come into effect on Wednesday, would not be implemented.

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”.

“Yango is allowed to continue operating in Finland for the time being,” the Finnish agency said, while adding that the monitoring of data transfers would continue in cooperation with Norwegian and Dutch regulators.

Yango has said it processes data in strict compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and EU legislation, and that Russia in any case had no jurisdiction over the company’s international business.

Norway had also planned a similar ban to the one issued by Finland but had not issued a formal order and will refrain from doing so, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Data Protection Agency said.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Ros Russell)