14 November 2023

Russian court fines Google for failing to store personal data on its users

14 November 2023

A Russian court has fined Google for failing to store personal data on its Russian users, the latest in a series of penalties issued against the technology giant amid tensions between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine.

A magistrate at Moscow’s Tagansky district court fined Google 15 million rubles (£133,000) on Tuesday after the company repeatedly refused to store personal data on Russian citizens in Russia.

Google was previously fined over the same charges in August 2021 and June 2022 under a Russian law that obliges foreign entities to localise the personal data of their Russian users.

The US tech giant was also ordered to pay a 3 million ruble (£26,600) fine in August for failing to delete allegedly false information about the conflict in Ukraine.

However, Russia can do little to collect the fine, because Google’s Russia business was effectively shut down last year after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.

The company has said it filed for bankruptcy in Russia after its bank account was seized by the authorities, leaving it unable to pay staff and suppliers.

Russian courts have also fined Apple and the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February 2022, Russian authorities have taken a slew of measures to stifle any criticism of the military campaign.

Some critics have received severe punishments.

Opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced this year to 25 years in prison for treason stemming from speeches he made against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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