Google has been fined ₦109.3 million (15 million roubles) by a court in Russia following allegation of floating the government’s law mandating technology companies to house their citizens’ user data in the Eastern Europe country.
The search engine firm, owned by Alphabet, doesn’t store the data of Russian citizens in the country, rather transporting them outside the shore, which is against Vladimir Putin’s localisation of information law.
Moscow’s court decision is a series of clampdown against technology companies not abiding to the government’s rule, and this had led to the restriction of access to social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
However, Google is yet to share the same fate with the three social networking sites, with Russia’s deputy head of the State Duma Committee on information policy, Anton Gorelkin, expressing confidence that the Alphabet firm will remain in the country despite other sanctions melted on the internet service.
Google’s subsidiary, which is competing with Russia’s Yandex, saw its bank account seized by the government, putting a strain on the firm’s ability to compete and pay for their fine. Which means the parent company will have to bear the burden.
Gorelkin said during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that Google hasn’t done enough to get blocked, even though he accused the technology company of being part of the information war against Russia.
“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 said.
His confidence of Google’s continued operation in the country steam from the search engine’s operational experience in China, where Facebook and Twitter are also blocked. The firm tried building a censored search engine that tailors to the Chinese government laws, but it eventually gave up the fight to remain operational.
Meanwhile, just like Google, LikeMe, a photo-sharing application, was also fined 1.5 million roubles. This is a sanction for first-time offense by the company.