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Employee-related data Similar to the international treaty exemption, the Data Localization Law provides an exemption for personal data processed for the purpose of pursuing objectives envisaged by Russian law.
The contours of this exemption are unclear, and many have asked the Ministry of Communications to clarify whether it exempts organizations from applying the localization requirements to the personal data of their employees, the processing of which is subject to certain legal requirements.
As we reported last week, on 3 August 2015 the Russian Ministry of Communications, the agency that oversees the Russian data protection authority which will be enforcing Russia’s Data Localization Law, published unofficial clarifications on its website that provide a view into how the Ministry believes organizations must comply with the law.
While these clarifications are non-binding, they constitute the only written regulatory guidance that has been published to date about the law, which takes effect on 1 September and requires organizations that collect personal data from individuals located in Russia to store that data within Russian territory.
Retrospective character of the law The law applies only to data processing activities that take place after its effective date.
Therefore, the guidance states that personal data collected and stored abroad before 1 September 2015 does need to be stored in Russia.
That said, Russian courts have the final say on the scope of the law’s jurisdiction, so while the Ministry’s guidance is helpful in determining likely enforcement targets, it does not definitively exempt any organizations from the localization requirements until the law is tested in the courts.Applicability of the law Under standard Russian jurisdictional rules, laws apply only within the territory of Russia.