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Russia opens case against Google for breaching personal data law

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a logo of Alphabet Inc's Google in Zurich

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia has opened an administrative case against Google for not storing the personal data of Russian users in databases on Russian territory, a move that could see the tech giant fined, communications regulator Roskomnadzor said on Wednesday.

Roskomnadzor said it was also waiting for Facebook and Twitter to respond to a demand that they localise similar data by July 1 or face fines, part Moscow's wider efforts to exert greater control over Big Tech.

Russia has imposed a punitive slowdown on Twitter since March over a failure to delete content Moscow deems illegal and is considering legislation that would force foreign technology companies to open offices in Russia or face penalties such as advertising bans.

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia was not planning to block any foreign social media sites, but that he hoped Russian social networks would provide opportunities for creative and talented people to thrive.

"We don't intend to block anyone, we want to work with them, but there are problems, which lie in the fact that they send us away when they do not comply with our demands and Russian law," Putin said during a live question and answer session broadcast by state television.

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It could be fined up to 6 million roubles ($82,060) for failing to comply, Roskomnadzor said.

Such administrative cases are usually heard in a Moscow district court.

About 600 foreign companies have localised data in Russia, a list that Roskomnadzor previously said includes Apple, Samsung and PayPal.

Microsoft's LinkedIn is blocked in Russia after a court found it breached the data-storage rule, passed in 2015, which required all data about Russian citizens to be stored within the country.

($1 = 73.1175 roubles)

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Anastasia Teterevleva, Oksana Kobzeva and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Potter)