Russia Issues Warnings To Google, Twitter And Facebook
According to a report by Reuters, the Russian government has issued warnings to Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) about violations of Russia’s Internet laws. In order to comply with Russian legislation, Internet companies must regularly turn over data on users to the Russian government.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal agency responsible for media content, has said that it sent letters to Facebook, Google and Twitter this week reminding them to comply with Russian law and warning them of the ramifications if they fail to do so.
"In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation," Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky explained.
According to Ampelonsky, encryption technology used by the three companies will not allow the Russian government to block specific websites, so instead they could be forced to fight non-compliance by blocking access to the companies’ entire services.
Control Versus Censorship
Putin’s opponents view Russia’s Internet laws as unjust censorship. According to the law, companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter must turn over data to the Russian government on any Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers. In addition, the companies must take down any sites that Roskomnadzor believes is encouraging or condoning “unsanctioned protests and unrest.”
The Russian government sees these laws as peacekeeping measures, but opponents argue that requiring popular bloggers to register with a government agency amounts to intimidation and denial of free speech.
Companies Not Intimidated
If the past is any indication, the three big-name U.S. Internet companies have no plans to cave to Russian demands any time soon. Facebook rejected Russia’s last two data requests. Twitter rejected all of the 108 requests from the Russian government in the second half of 2014 alone. Google provided some user data to Russia in only 5 percent of its 134 requests in the second half of last year.
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