Russia fines Google, sues WhatsApp for violating data localisation law
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Russia fines Google, sues WhatsApp for violating data localisation law

The Tagansky District Court of Moscow on Thursday issued a fine of 3 million rubles against Google for violating Russia’s new data protection laws that mandate that personal data of Russian users is stored on servers in Russia.

The law is known as the Federal Law On Activities of Foreign Persons in the Information and Telecommunication Network Internet in the Territory of the Russian Federation, and it came into force on July 1, 2021.  Article 10(4) requires that all recording, systematization, accumulation, storage, clarification and extraction of personal data of Russian nationals is collected with the use of databases located in the territory of the country.

Upon breach, the Russian state regulator, Roscomnadzor, may take penal actions such as partially or completely blocking the internet company within the territory of Russia, 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.

On Friday, the Tagansky District Court registered a protocol against WhatsApp for the same offence under Part 8 of Article 13.11 of the Administrative Offenses Code. The maximum penalty is six million rubles. For repeated failures, the penalty can go up to 18 million rubles. The Roskomnadzor had summoned representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter at the beginning of July for their failure to comply with the new law, and warned them of such administrative proceedings.

The action against Google and WhatsApp form part of a larger crackdown on social media companies. Last week, the Tagansky District Court fined Facebook, Twitter and Telegram for failing to delete illegal content. Twitter has also been placed on a punitive slowdown since March for repeated failure to take down illegal content.