Russian Duma to Increase Fines for the US Tech Giants Failing to Comply with Its Internet Laws

The penalties for IT companies will be increased if they continue to ignore the injunctions of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, the State Duma has threatened.

The idea of strengthening the punishment was triggered mainly by Google’s behavior since the US tech giant repeatedly refused to pay fines handed down by the authorities in recent weeks along with Facebook and Twitter.

The chairman of the Duma Commission for Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia’s Internal Affairs, Vasily Piskarev, stressed that Google’s management is willing to tolerate multimillion-dollar fines only to demonstrate they have the full might of the US behind their backs.

He believes that stricter amendments to the laws regarding the liability of both offending companies and managers could be the answer for the company’s shamefacedly evading answer to the claims brought against it.

The total amount of fines that Russia has issued to the tech giant in recent months exceeds 32 million rubles ($439,000) for failing to remove content that is banned in Russia and for refusing to locate servers with Russian users’ data within the country.

Google has paid about 10% of this figure.

Bailiffs seeking the money owed to the courts have visited the Moscow office of the American tech giant on Monday only to be told by the company’s lawyer to go to the US office to collect the fines.

A court in Moscow has also banned Google earlier this month from displaying the phrase “smart voting” in search results, which the company is yet to comply with, in a case also linked to the imprisoned opposition figure Alexey Navalny, this time in relation to his election strategy.

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