Google fined Russia – again – for failing to remove banned content

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A Moscow court on Thursday again fined Google for failing to remove banned content amid increasing pressure from foreign tech giants in Russia.

In recent months, Russia has taken legal action against foreign tech companies for failing to delete content banned by the authorities, including pornographic material or posts deemed extremist or condoning drugs or suicide.

On Thursday, the Tagansky District Court fined Google three times totaling 6 million rubles (about 60 lakhs) for the violation, according to the Moscow Courts’ official Telegram channel.

Earlier this week, the US company was fined five more totaling 14 million rubles (approximately 1.4 billion rupees) for the same fees.

Last month, Google was fined 3 million rubles (about 30 lakhs) for violating data retention laws.

According to the RIA Novosti news agency, Google has so far been fined 32.5 million rubles (around 3.2 billion rupees) in Russia.

It was the first time that the company was punished under the controversial law requiring the storage of personal data of Russian users on servers located inside Russia.

Moscow recently increased pressure on foreign tech companies, especially social networks, after accusing them earlier this year of failing to remove posts urging minors to join protests in support of incarcerated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Facebook has been fined for failing to remove illegal content while Twitter’s speed has been slowed in Russia.

In recent years, the Russian government has also tightened control over the Internet under the pretext of combating extremism and protecting minors.

But government critics have denounced official surveillance of the Internet as a means of stifling debate and silencing dissenting opinions.

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