Google, Facebook Risk Losing Access to Russian Market

According to the BBC, Russia has demanded that 13 technology companies, most of which are situated in the United States, establish an office on Russian soil by 2022 or else face punitive measures.

The list of companies include Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, TelegramZoom, Viber, Spotify, Likee, Discord, Pinterest, and Twitch.

According to reports, the demand from Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor adds that non-compliance will allow the regulator to take “coercive measures,” such as removing foreign businesses from Russian web search results, restricting them from advertising, or collecting data in the country, and imposing other limitations.

I’ll take it.

The Guardian reports that Facebook has made the move in light of a new Russian law, passed in July, which requires all foreign companies with over 500,000 daily users in Russia to have a local representative by July 1. Furthermore, they were compelled to establish a portal through which Roskomnadzor could make complaints.

The ambiguity in the Roskomnadzor statement, according to Karen Kazaryan, head of research at Internet Research Institute, reflects a lack of clarity.

“There is no explanation in the law, no clarification as to what the legal form of the organisation’s representation should be,” noted Kazaryan.

Many of the businesses have run foul of the Russian government. After being threatened with fines and penalties, Google and Apple had previously hosted a Smart Voting application by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

On the basis of this event, The Register reaches the conclusion that a requirement to establish an office is intended to ensure that the government may physically get its hands on someone from a major international business if it breaks the law.