Russia: Moscow court fines Google for violating data storage law

MOSCOW A Moscow court had ordered Google today to pay three million rubles (roughly $41,000) in order to stop storing the personal information from Russian clients on their servers located in Russia this move will be part of long-running government attempt to tighten its control on online activities.

This is the first to be handed by Google in Russia in connection with data storage rules. Facebook and Twitter have previously faced similar sanctions for allegedly breaking Russian laws.

The Russian government’s efforts to limit the use of social media and internet begin in 2012 when a law that allowed authorities to block and blacklist certain content on the internet was enacted. Since then, a greater number of restrictions on websites, messaging apps as well as social media sites have been put in place.

One lawful provision required tech companies to maintain servers in Russia for the storage of personal information they obtain of Russian citizens. The Russian state-run watchdog for communications, Roskomnadzor, has tried unsuccessfully for a number of years to force big tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to transfer the personal data of Russian clients to Russia.

The pressure on the major social media platforms grew this year, after Russian authorities condemned them for the use of them to attract hundreds of thousands of people on the streets demanding the release of imprisoned Russian political head Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most famous critic. The massive protests across the country was an immense obstacle against the Kremlin.

Officials claimed they were able to prove that the platforms were unable to halt calls for children to take part in protests and Putin demanded that police be vigilant in monitoring social media platforms and identify the people who lure children to street protests that are illegal and uncontained.

Facebook as well as Twitter have been repeatedly fined this year due to their inability to take down the content Russian authorities have deemed to be illegal. Roskomnadzor threatened to block Twitter and has since reduced its speed to which the site is able to operate.

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