Google fined for violating Russian data storage law

Google fined for violating Russian data storage law
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A Russian court on Thursday ordered Google to pay a fine after the tech giant refused to keep personal data belonging to Russian users on servers that are based in Russia.

Google must now pay a fine of 3 million rubles, equivalent to about $41,000, which is the first financial penalty the technology company has ever received in Russia for issues involving data storage regulations, The Associated Press reported.

Russia’s latest move against Google is part of its wider mission to tighten its control of online activity, the news service noted.

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The effort reportedly began in 2012, when the government adopted a law that allows officials to blacklist and block specific content online. Since that law was enacted, restrictions have been put in place for messaging apps, websites and social media platforms.

One legal provision mandated technology companies to establish servers in Russia for collecting personal information regarding Russian citizens, the AP reported.

The country’s state communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has since made efforts to push the tech companies into moving that data back to Russia, the wire service noted.

The regulation reportedly allows online services that do not follow the rules regarding the data storage to be banned from Russia. The country has levied threats against Facebook and Twitter that they will be blocked, but no such action has been taken.

LinkedIn, however, was banned from Russia because it did not store user data in Russia, the AP noted.

Scrutiny of social media platforms has increased in Russia this year, particularly amid criticism that they helped fuel protests calling for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny to be set free, according to the wire service.

Russia continued its battle against technology companies last week when it levied fines on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram.

The fines were from Moscow’s Tagansky District Court, and were imposed for failing to remove illegal content.