Russian legislators have approved harsher rules for foreign IT companies without offices and personal data transfers

Russian legislators have approved harsher rules for foreign IT companies without offices and persona ...

Russian legislators approved a measure that would penalize foreign internet businesses that fail to establish a presence in Russia, including fines. Moscow has long sought to impose greater control over technology firms, and disputes over content and data have intensified since it sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Since July 1, 2021, international social media behemoths with over 500,000 daily users have been forced to set up offices in Russia or face outright bans.

After the lower house passed the measure in the second of three readings, Russia's penalities on the likes of Alphabets Google and Meta Platforms for hosting prohibited content might be applied to firms that fail to open offices.

Fines could be as high as ten percent of a company's turnover in Russia as compared to the previous year, or as much as 20 percent for repeat violations.

Roskomnadzor, the state communication regulator, listed 13 mostly US businesses that must establish themselves on Russian soil by the end of the year in November.

Only Apple, SpotifyRakuten Group's messaging app viber, and the photo-sharing app Likeme have fully complied, though Spotify closed its doors in March in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine and suspended its streaming service.

Meta, which was found guilty of extreme activity in March, is no longer listed, and its Facebook and Instagram platforms are banned, although its messaging app WhatsApp isn't.

According to the government website, four other firms have fulfilled at least one other Roskomnadzor requirement, but have yet to establish a Russian legal entity or office.

According to the Wikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation, Discord, Amazon's live streaming unit Twitchthe messaging app Telegramthe bookmarking service Pinterest.

The new law would also limit Russian personal data being transferred abroad, and would require entities to notify the communications regulator in advance.

The measure, passed by the lower house of parliament in its second reading, is one of several that the government has been working on as Russia deals with the consequences of harsh Western sanctions imposed as a result of Moscows military drill in Ukraine.

The present legislation practically does not prohibit the cross-border transfer of personal data, which poses a significant threat in the current foreign policy situation, according to a detailed note accompanying the bill.

According to the authors of the bills, more than 2,500 Russian corporations handle personal data and send them to other countries, including unfriendly nations that have imposed sanctions.

According to Forbes, companies wanting to transfer data abroad will have to notify the authority, Roskomnadzor, for each country.

Along with 29 other mostly African and Asian nations, Roskomnadzor believes these countries are providing adequate safeguards.

Several European members of the [NATO] ( defense alliance as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand are among the unfriendly countries approved by Roskomnadzor.

Before President Vladimir Putin can sign the draft, it will need to go through a third reading in the Duma and a review by the upper house.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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