Russian internet firm Yandex is banned from providing its taxi hailing services in Estonia from Monday.
ERRThe ruling means Yandex NV is barred from providing ride hailing and intermediary services in Estonia, including making these indirectly available.
Taxi drivers and taxi firms may not now use the Yandex tax app (Yandex Pro) to fulfill orders.
Internet Service Providers are also forbidden from carrying Yandex Pro and Yandex Go, while app stores in Estonia – Google Play, Apple's App Store etc. – are ordered to bar downloading the Yandex app via their store, and must not provide updates to those who have already downloaded the app.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and IT and foreign trade minister Andres Sutt (Reform) said the move related to national security, given that Yandex requires the provision of personal data which would be held in Russia and which Russian security services, including the FSB, have the ability to access, following a recent decision in Russia.
The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) is tasked with informing taxi drivers and firms themselves.
Yandex entered the Estonian market in 2018 in direct competition to ride-hailing apps such as Taxify (now Bolt).
Yandex to appeal the ban
Yandex said Monday that it finds the ban unreasonable and intends to contest it.
In a comment sent to ERR's online news in Estonian, the company said:
"We stress that we find the Estonian authorities' request to restrict our work unreasonable, and intend to contest it.
"There have been no complaints about the service before. Yandex Go's services in Estonia, and in many other states, is represented by the Dutch company Yandex.Taxi BV, which strictly follows EU regulations, General Data Protection Regulation GDPR rules and Estonian law," the statement added.
Yandex said that rather than wait for the official block on its services, the company halted service provision in advance, to head off any possible fines or other issues for company management or the company's partners.
This article was updated to include Yandex' appeal on the ban.
Editor: Andrew Whyte