Authorities Ask YouTube to Remove Citizens' Data

A federal media regulator has sent notices to YouTube, LiveJournal, and four other websites demanding that they cease the "illegal" publication of Russians' personal information, or shut down altogether.

A spokesman for the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service said the request is related to complaints from users whose data was published on the sites without their consent."With regard to LiveJournal and YouTube, it's only about deleting the information classified as personal data of certain Russian citizens who have submitted complaints,” the spokesman told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

The regulator has also asked the Foreign Ministry to help resolve the problem through diplomatic channels, a statement on the agency's website said.

The statement said the regulator sent the letter making its request earlier this month to five U.S. companies and one in the Bahamas that own domain names.

In addition to Youtube.com and Livejournal.com, the other domains targeted by the service included huzhe.net, on which users can post complaints about poor service or alleged fraud by companies; obmanoff.net, which calls itself a "database of Internet fraudsters"; and elgebei.info and feritac.info, where users can look up contact data for Moscow residents.

Ilya Dronov, head of San Francisco-based LiveJournal's Russia office, wrote Monday on Twitter that the company had yet to receive any notice from the government agency.

"The San Francisco LiveJournal office hasn't received any demands from Roskomnadzor," he wrote, referring to the regulator's Russian name. "I hope Roskomnadzor had the sense in the modern age not to send the documents in hard copy, but by e-mail."

The regulator said in its statement that it has sent 42 such requests to foreign companies since the beginning of the year, 15 of which have resulted in the voluntary shutdown of the site or removal of the offending materials, while the rest of the cases are to be considered by the courts in the country of the company's registration.

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