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Vkontakte says no to a controversial data-mining deal


Russia’s biggest social network, Vkontakte, has turned down a potential partnership with the country’s biggest credit group, the National Bureau of Credit History (NBKI), that would have allowed it to mine data from users’ public profiles.

In April, the magazine RBC reported that Vkontakte’s parent company, Group, struck a deal with NBKI, but on May 16 Vkontakte’s managing director, Andrey Rogozov, told Meduza that the agreement never went through because they couldn’t find a format that didn’t violate the network’s data-protection principles. Rogozov says Vkontakte will continue to fight against unauthorized data-collection efforts, and block access to user information by all available technical and legal means.

Earlier this year, Vkontakte won a appeal against the company “Double Data,” after that company started collecting and analyzing public user data for commercial use by banks without Vkontakte’s permission. NBKI was actually one of Double Data’s clients and originally acted as a second defendant in Vkontakte’s lawsuit, but in August 2017 it reached a settlement with the social network.

NBKI currently has more than 200 million credit history records on at least 84 million Russian citizens, and more than 4,000 companies use the bureau’s services.