Google was fined 15 million roubles ($260,000) by a Moscow court for persistently failing to comply with a Russian rule mandating technology companies to localize customer data.
The fine was levied, according to the Court, for Google’s persistent failure to store Russian users’ personal data in databases on Russian soil.
After Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February, Google relocated some of its staff.
- Russia has issued multiple fines to foreign technology companies in recent years over a range of infringements in what critics say is Moscow’s attempt to exert greater control over the internet.
- Russia has restricted access to Twitter and Meta Platforms, including flagship social networks- Facebook and Instagram, but Google and its YouTube video hosting service, though under pressure, remain available for now.
- Moscow particularly objects to YouTube’s treatment of Russian media, which it has blocked. But Anton Gorelkin, deputy head of the State Duma Committee on information policy, said the U.S. company was not yet at risk of meeting the same fate. “Blocking is an extreme measure, and YouTube and Google have not crossed this line of reasonableness, but they are involved in the information war against Russia,” Gorelkin told reporters at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
- Photo-sharing application- LikeMe, was fined 1.5 million roubles for a first-time offense. LikeMe could not be reached for comments. Google’s ability to pay could be hampered as its Russian subsidiary announced plans to file for bankruptcy in May after authorities seized its bank account.
- Gorelkin said Google could not be a global leader without operations in China and pointed to Yandex, often referred to as Russia’s answer to Google, as a viable competitor. “I am certain that Google will stay in Russia if it does not cross the line,” he said.