Google has been fined US$164,000 by a Moscow court. The fine, which was imposed on Tuesday, was said to be for repeated refusal to store Russian users' data on servers inside Russia.
This isn’t the only issue that Google has faced in a country where data access and use has become a highly charged issue, especially since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. According to the Mint business news service, Google has been fined before under a Russian law that obliges foreign companies to localise the personal data of their Russian users.
In addition, in August this year Google was ordered to pay a fine of about US$32,800 for failing to delete allegedly false information about the war in Ukraine. Russian courts have also fined Apple and the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia.
Reuters points out that Google's Russian subsidiary has also been under pressure in Russia for failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal and for restricting access to some Russian media on YouTube. The Russian unit filed for bankruptcy in summer 2022 after authorities seized its bank account.
In March 2022 Russia completely blocked access to Facebook in retaliation for restrictions the platform had placed on state-owned media. The Russian state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, also restricted access to Twitter. Both are still blocked.
However, to date Roskomnadzor has not blocked access to Google's services, and, so far, its search engine and YouTube platform have continued operating.