Yesterday, a Russian court slapped Google LLC with a fine of 21 billion rubles. This amounts to approximately three hundred and sixty million US dollars ($360 million). Russian internet watchdog- Roskomnadzor claims that Google and its subsidiary YouTube failed to take down illegal content. The content in question here feres to materials related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kremlin (The Russian government) deems such content as misleading and hence, illegal. However, Google has failed to remove or restrict access to the following materials even after multiple requests from the Russian IT regulator:
- Information that allegedly promotes participation in unauthorized mass actions.
- Content about the course of Russia’s “Special military operation” in Ukraine.
- Materials promoting extremism, terrorism, or harmful acts for the life and health of minors.
- Any other information which discredits the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on Google platforms.
Google’s previous violations in Russia
Last month, Russia’s IT controller fined Google LLC $1.2 million for the umpteenth time for failure to remove prohibited information. According to the authority, multiple violations of the same legal requirement lead to a revenue-based fine model. As a result, the $360 million fine is based on Google’s annual business turnover in Russia.
The company recently filed for bankruptcy in Russia claiming incapacity to continue business after a series of massive fines and, ultimately, asset confiscation.
Google’s non-paid services in Russia remain accessible, albeit with some restrictions, but firms or individuals can purchase no advertising campaigns in the country.
This came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that prohibits the use of digital assets. The law requires crypto exchanges to bar any transactions involving cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether, to complete transactions in Russia.