Finnish and Norwegian data protection agencies have taken a stand against potential privacy breaches by implementing a temporary ban on the transfer of user data from the Russian ride-hailing service Yango. The move comes as Russia is set to enact a law that grants its domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, access to taxi users’ data, raising concerns about surveillance and data misuse.
Yango, which is the sole Russian ride-hailing app operational in Europe, is owned by Ridetech International B.V., a subsidiary of Yandex, often referred to as the “Russian Google.”
The ban, imposed by Finnish and Norwegian data regulators, will be in effect until at least November 30, coinciding with the looming September 1 deadline for the Russian law to take effect.
European regulators fear that this law could compromise user privacy by enabling the intelligence agency to monitor the movements of Yango users. Furthermore, the agencies have expressed concerns that once Yango’s data reaches Russia, it might be processed in violation of the European General Data Protection Regulation.
Yango has responded to the situation, assuring international users that the Russian government’s rule changes will not impact their use of the ride-hailing app. The situation highlights the broader landscape of data security and international regulations, especially as Yandex, the parent company of Yango, faces the repercussions of Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
As data privacy concerns persist, Yango’s actions and the responses of Finland and Norway underscore the complex challenges faced by companies operating in the digital age.