On Thursday, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow fined Google 3 million rubles for breaking Russia’s new data protection laws, which require that personal data of Russian users be held on Russian servers.
The law, known as the Federal Law On Activities of Foreign Persons in the Information and Telecommunication Network Internet on Russian Federation Territory, took effect on July 1, 2021. Article 10(4) stipulates that all personal data of Russian citizens must be recorded, systematised, accumulated, stored, clarified, and extracted using databases located on the country’s territory.
In the event of a breach, the Russian state regulator, Roscomnadzor, may take disciplinary action against the internet company, including partially or completely blocking the company within Russian territory, restricting money transfers to the company from Russian individuals and legal entities, prohibiting the company from collecting Russian users’ personal data, and restricting cross-border transfers to the company from Russia.
The Tagansky District Court filed a protocol against WhatsApp on Friday under Part 8 of Article 13.11 of the Administrative Offenses Code for the same offence. Six million rubles is the maximum penalty. The penalty for consecutive failures might be as high as 18 million rubles. In early July, the Roskomnadzor summoned representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter for failing to comply with the new rule and threatening them with administrative action.
Google and WhatsApp are being targeted as part of a broader crackdown on social media corporations. The Tagansky District Court punished Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram last week for failing to remove illegal content from their platforms. Since March, Twitter has been on a punishment slowdown for failing to remove illegal content on many occasions.