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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    [EN] Russia Blocks LinkedIn because data not on Russian servers

    The move marks the first time a social media site has been blocked in the country and comes after a court ruled that it broke local data storage laws.

    Nick Holdsworth
    11/18/2016

    Russian authorities have blocked access to LinkedIn after a court ruled that the business networking site had broken local data storage laws.

    A Moscow district court decision last week, which went into effect on Friday, said that LinkedIn had failed to observe a 2014 federal law stipulating that internet companies that process the personal data of Russian citizens must store that data on servers located in Russia.

    The move marks the first time a social media site has been blocked in Russia. It will see LinkedIn users in Russia gradually lose access as of Friday. In the past, Russia has threatened to block such social media sites as Facebook, but has never done so.

    The decision on LinkedIn prompted alarm at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, which expressed concern, with some observers wondering if the decision could set a precedent justifying the blocking of other sites in the country.

    "The United States is deeply concerned by Russia’s decision to block access to the website LinkedIn," the U.S. Embassy in Moscow told The Hollywood Reporter. "This decision is the first of its kind and sets a troubling precedent that could be used to justify shutting down any website that contains Russian user data. We urge Russia to restore access immediately to LinkedIn."

    The Embassy added: "We urge Russia to carefully consider the impact of its Data Localization Law, which will be detrimental to Russia’s IT industry. Companies should be free to choose where they store their data.

    "We will continue to work with LinkedIn and other U.S. companies laboring under this and other anti-competitive and counterproductive market restrictions imposed by the Russian Government to the detriment of the Russian people."

    Although none of the other large international social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, or Facebook's WhatsApp service, keep Russian users' data on Russia servers, observers believe the case, brought by Kremlin media watchdog Roskomnadzor, is designed as a warning that could be used to put pressure on those companies, which are much more popular among Russians than LinkedIn, to fall into line.

    LinkedIn has around 400 million registered users worldwide, but only 5 million of those are in Russia. Russian authorities claim the site is vulnerable to hacking, pointing to a massive hack in 2012 when 6.4 million usernames and passwords were stolen.

    "They have a bad track record: Every year there's a major scandal about the safety of user data," Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky told The Moscow Times.

    In a statement sent out Friday to registered users in Russia, LinkedIn said it would provide refunds for "unused time" for any paid services. Russian users who choose not to close their accounts are also likely to still be able to access them when outside of Russia.

    The move comes at a time when, following Donald Trump's presidential election victory, Russia's relations with the U.S. are looking like they could improve.

    Any decision by LinkedIn to comply with the Russian data storage law and restore access to its Russian users is likely to hinge on what Microsoft, which recently agreed to buy the business networking site for $26.2 billion, decides.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...ncerned-948689

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    LinkedIn opens 8-megawatt Hillsboro data center













    Mike Rogoway
    November 17, 2016

    Social networking company LinkedIn said Thursday it has opened its new Hillsboro data center, a project that has been in the works for more than a year.

    LinkedIn connects professionals with online job profiles and links to employment postings, business-related events and news. The company said its new, 8-megawatt Hillsboro site is its most advanced and will serve as a template for future projects elsewhere.

    LinkedIn said it reduced energy use with cooling mechanisms on each cabinet of computer servers and by using Oregon air, which is naturally cool for much of the year. Other innovations include a unified software architecture for the entire site and new security features.

    The project occupies two buildings leased from data center operator Infomart. One building is a former semiconductor equipment factory, while the second was built specifically for this project.

    LinkedIn would not say how many people work at the site, but even large data centers typically employ no more than a few dozen – and some have just a handful of employees.

    Data centers are drawn to Oregon by the absence of a state sales tax and by local property tax breaks. LinkedIn's project, like almost every other large data center in the state, is in an enterprise zone that exempts its high-end computers from the property taxes other businesses pay.

    Those incentives have lured Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple – all of which have large data centers in central or eastern Oregon. Those projects have provided an economic boost in the tiny towns where they operate, some of which have also benefited from a sharp rise in franchise fees generated by the huge volumes of electricity data centers use.

    The benefits in Hillsboro are relatively modest, though, because data centers' energy use and jobs are not big enough to have a meaningful local impact in larger cities. Nonetheless, the city has continued opening land to more data centers and other industrial uses.

    Data centers' Oregon tax breaks can be worth tens of millions of dollars annually on large projects – the value depends on the size of a company's investment. LinkedIn declined to say how much it has spent in Hillsboro; that information will be available from Washington County after assessors have evaluated it.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-fo...watt_hill.html

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Hillsboro opens farmland to more data centers

    Luke Hammill and Mike Rogoway
    November 14, 2015

    Hillsboro's sweet deal for data centers is about to get sweeter.

    The facilities, which hire relatively few workers, have been eligible for lucrative property tax breaks in Oregon's fifth-largest city for years. A number have taken advantage, making Hillsboro one of the most attractive destinations for server farms on the West Coast.

    Now, amid a boom in Oregon data centers, Hillsboro is preparing an urban renewal plan – up for a public hearing on Tuesday – that would deploy more taxpayer money over the next 25 years to build public infrastructure to support them. The city acknowledges more data centers are coming, projecting that they'd account for 12 percent of the buildings, or over 1.2 million square feet, in the renewal area.

    But that projection could be low, and there isn't much the city can do to stop more data centers from cashing in. Watchdogs warn server farms could consume a far higher percentage of the proposed new industrial area, adding almost nothing to the tax rolls and creating few jobs.

    "If it fills up with data centers," said Tax Fairness Oregon founder Jody Wiser, "they won't have room for all the other stuff that's going to come."

    The situation results from an urban planning process conceived in the 1970s and '80s, when Oregon was courting major electronics factories and no one had contemplated of massive data centers filled with quietly humming computers – and almost no employees.

    Hillsboro officials say they're merely following urban planning strategies laid out years ago by Metro, pursuing economic development with the tools the regional government and the state allow.

    "The economic development trend of five or six years ago can change," said Jim Middaugh, communications director at Metro. "And our ability to respond to that is limited."

    Hillsboro created an enterprise zone on the land in question that exempts new buildings and industrial equipment from property taxes most businesses have to pay. There are a half-dozen Hillsboro data centers in enterprise zones. Once cities establish such zones, the state gives them little latitude in deciding what types of businesses can occupy them.

    Large industrial investments traditionally went hand-in-hand with job creation. Washington County attracted several high-tech factories during the 1980s and '90s, at a time when land, labor and power costs made Oregon attractive to large manufacturers.

    Data centers represent a new and unforeseen class of activity that wants all Oregon has to offer – cheap power, affordable land and, above all, tax breaks. But they are almost entirely automated, so direct employment might be limited to just a handful of technicians.

    Cloud computing is thriving as companies of all sizes store more information online, and Oregon is especially fertile ground for server farms thanks to the tax breaks and the absence of a state sales tax.

    Yet the operations in Hillsboro are different from the mammoth server farms Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have built in rural Oregon.

    Those companies have been generally welcomed because even a handful of jobs can be a windfall in a small town, and because franchise fees from their electricity use generate taxes for local governments that have few other resources.

    In Hillsboro, with a thriving economy and nearly 100,000 residents, data centers barely make a splash.

    And there's another big difference: The data centers operating in Hillsboro lease space or computing power to other companies that want to store information.

    Their tenants prefer data centers in a metro area that's readily accessible. But tenants don't have to be local: Hillsboro's data centers market their services to potential clients all over the West, so the jobs they support might be hundreds of miles away.

    Hillsboro Economic Development Director Mark Clemons said the city is "trying to maximize value" on its industrial land – through jobs, wages, private investment and the multiplier effect that the investment can bring. The urban renewal plan is focused on the infrastructure that would support that investment, rather than trying to attract – or keep out – any specific type of business.

    "Right now, I'm not focused on data centers. ... We're not opening the door to any one particular type of user," Clemons said.

    Hillsboro's plan focuses on an area of the city north of Northwest Evergreen Road, south of U.S. 26, east of Northeast Sewell Road and west of Northwest 235th Avenue. Northwest Brookwood Parkway bisects the eastern half of the area as it travels north toward the Sunset Highway.

    Right now, the 1,090-acre area is largely rural. Much of the land is in farm deferral for tax purposes. But when Metro and other agencies brought it into the urban growth boundary, the land was designated for industrial use. And up to 40 percent of it has to be set aside as "large-lot, single-user" parcels at least 50 or 100 acres in size, Metro said.

    The portion outlined in red shows the 1,090-acre urban renewal area that the city of Hillsboro is planning to upgrade with roads, sewer, water and other infrastructure in an effort to attract high-tech industry.Dan Aguayo/The Oregonian

    That's where urban renewal comes in. The city feels that the market won't support the development of 50-acre parcels without a public incentive. So Hillsboro officials plan to use tax-increment financing – a method by which the tax base is frozen and future increases are diverted from police, firefighters, schools and parks and into a renewal fund – to pay for the roads, sewers and water lines that would make the land shovel-ready and less risky for developers.

    It may be that no data centers at all move into the new urban renewal area. But recent history suggests they're far more likely to come than a major new manufacturer.

    Several data centers have gone up in Hillsboro in just the past few years, and the city remains a "particularly" hot market among Northwest cities, according to a new report from the commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

    "We expect increasing demand," the report reads.

    Meanwhile, the big tech factories that employ thousands and seeded the Silicon Forest now prefer to go offshore, or to retrofit existing factories. It's been years since any large employer built a greenfield operation on the 50- or 100-acre scale in the metro area.

    Hillsboro city officials hope the combination of big tax breaks and taxpayer-subsidized infrastructure could end that long industrial drought. Clemons pointed out that the city landed Intel's Ronler Acres campus in part because of a similar urban renewal plan.

    Greg Malinowski sits on the Washington County Board of Commissioners. When Hillsboro needed the county's blessing on its urban renewal plan because much of the land is still unincorporated, Malinowski was the only one to vote against the measure.

    "Generally, we would let the private sector build this infrastructure," he said, adding that he thinks the plan will ultimately hurt Oregon schools.

    Hillsboro justifies using urban renewal under a legal definition of "blight" that includes land without adequate infrastructure.

    The city estimated earlier this year that the plan could result in 14,000 jobs, $1.45 billion in annual payroll, $100 million in new annual income taxes and a seven-fold increase in property taxes. Hillsboro's modeling estimated that data centers will account for 250 of the jobs, not including construction. (See correction below.)

    Newly released numbers from the Oregon Department of Revenue show that for the second straight year, a Hillsboro data center called Infomart Portland saved more than $769,000 in property taxes in exchange for creating one full-time, permanent job. (The agency does not track part-time jobs, construction workers or contractors.) Another company associated with the California data center firm Digital Realty saved nearly $760,000 in return for two full-time jobs.

    The tax deals tend to last five years. But data centers often replace their equipment – which tends to be more valuable than the land or buildings – more frequently than that and can thus continue to renew the benefits.

    Correction: Hillsboro officials initially said they forecast 1,500 data center jobs in the new urban renewal area. But a forecast by the city's consultants actually projects 250 jobs.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/i...rt_river_index

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