Russia Fines Foreign Firms for Alleged Data Storage Violations

Video streaming service Twitch, social network Pinterest, holiday rental company Airbnb and United Parcel Service (UPS) were all fined by a Moscow court on Tuesday for allegedly refusing to store Russian citizens’ personal data in Russia.

Moscow has clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in a simmering dispute that has erupted into a full-on battle since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The Moscow court’s press service said Amazon-owned Twitch, Pinterest and Airbnb had been found guilty by the Tagansky District Court of breaching Russian legislation on personal data and fined 2 million roubles ($37,700) each. UPS was fined 1 million roubles.

A UPS spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the court’s decision. As this review is ongoing we can provide no further information at this time.”

Twitch, Pinterest and Airbnb did not respond to requests for comment.

Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said in late May that it had also opened an administrative case against U.S. tech giant Apple.

For first-time offences, companies can be fined 1-6 million roubles, said Roskomnadzor.

Russia fined Alphabet Inc’s Google 15 million roubles this month for what it said was repeated failure to comply with Russian legislation on data storage, after handing it a 3-million-rouble penalty last year.

Google’s Russian subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account, making it impossible to pay staff and vendors. It is facing other possible fines over content.

Separately, the court said it had fined Canada-based storytelling platform Wattpad Corp. 1 million roubles for failing to delete content that Russia deems illegal.

Wattpad had no immediate comment.

($1 = 53.0000 roubles)

MOSCOW (Reuters)