Russian court fines Google for failing to store personal data on its users

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MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court on Tuesday fined Google for failing to store personal data on its Russian users, the latest in a series of fines on the U.S. tech giant amid tensions between the Kremlin and the West over the fighting in Ukraine.

A magistrate at Moscow’s Tagansky district court fined Google 15 million rubles (about $164,200) after the company repeatedly refused to store personal data on Russian citizens inside the country. Google was previously fined over the same charges in August 2021 and June 2022. The company declined to comment.

Google also was ordered to pay a 3 million ruble (about $32,800) fine in August for failing to delete allegedly false information about the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia can do little to collect the fine, however, as Google’s Russia business was effectively shut down last year after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine. The company has said it filed for bankruptcy in Russia after its bank account was seized by the authorities, leaving it unable to pay staff and suppliers.

Russian courts also have fined Apple and the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February 2022, Russian authorities have taken measures to stifle any criticism of the military campaign.

Some critics have received severe punishments. Opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced this year to 25 years in prison for treason stemming from speeches he made against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Sasha Skochilenko, an artist and musician from St. Petersburg, is on trial on charges of spreading false information about the military for replacing supermarket price tags with protest slogans. Prosecutors have asked for an eight-year prison sentence for her.

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