The Russian media regulator and the Moscow judiciary are continuing to fines US Internet companies as punishment for their refusal to save Russian users’ data on domestic servers. At the request of the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, Whatsapp is to pay 4 million rubles (just under 46,000 euros), Facebook 15 million rubles (171 million euros and Twitter 17 million rubles (194 million euros), according to the media regulator’s website.
For the same reason, a fine of 3 million rubles (almost 35,000 euros) was imposed on Google this year. In this context, the LinkedIn career network in Russia has been completely blocked since 2016.
For Whatsapp it was the first penalty, which is therefore less than for the others. A previous fine from 2020 of 4 million rubles was paid by Facebook, but not by Twitter. The Russian media supervisory authority wants to ensure that all data of Russian citizens are stored and processed in the country in order to ensure data protection.
The rule has been in force since 2015
The requirement to localize databases of Russian users in the Russian Federation has been in force since 2015, liability was established in 2019, schreibt Roskomanadzor. So far, around 600 representative offices of foreign companies in Russia – including Apple, Microsoft, LG, Samsung, PayPal, Booking – are said to have localized the personal data of Russian users. Legal persons face a fine of up to 6 million rubles for offense, and up to 18 million rubles in the event of repetition.
The Russian judiciary repeatedly punished foreign Internet companies for failing to consistently delete unwanted content. Critics, on the other hand, often complain about the approach as an attempt to restrict freedom of expression online.