Russian court fines Google $260,000 for breaking data rules
A Moscow court on Thursday said it had fined Alphabet’s Google 15 million rubles ($260,000) for repeatedly failing to comply with a Russian law requiring tech companies to locate data users.
Russia has imposed several fines on foreign technology companies in recent years for a series of violations, in what critics say is Moscow’s bid to exert greater control over the internet.
Google declined to comment.
Russia has restricted access to flagship social networks Twitter and Meta Platforms Incs, Facebook and Instagram, but Google and its video hosting service YouTube, although under pressure, remain available for now.
Moscow is particularly opposed to YouTube’s treatment of Russian media, which it has blocked. But Anton Gorelkin, deputy head of the State Duma’s information policy committee, said American society was not yet at risk of a similar fate.
“Blocking is an extreme measure and YouTube and Google have not crossed that line of reasonableness, but they are involved in the information war against Russia,” Gorelkin told reporters at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
The Tagansky District Court in Moscow said it imposed the fine for what it described as Google’s repeated failure to store Russian users’ personal data in databases on Russian territory. Google moved some employees out of Russia after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in late February.
Photo-sharing app LikeMe was fined 1.5 million rubles for a first offence. LikeMe could not be reached for comment.
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 couldn’t 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’m sure Google will stay in Russia if it doesn’t cross the line,” he said.
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