Russia intensifies censorship campaign, puts pressure on technology giants

On February 16, a Roskomnadzor official said companies that did not comply by the end of the month would be fined. In addition to fines and possible shutdowns or recessions, fines can disrupt advertising sales, search engine operations, data collection and payments under the law.

For companies that have not yet begun the “landing” process, we will consider the issue of applying the measures by the end of this month, “Vadim Subbotin, vice president of Roskomnadzor, told the Russian parliament, according to Russian media.

Human rights and freedom of speech groups have expressed frustration that some technology companies, often within Russia, underestimate the government and comply with the law without public opposition.

“The motive behind the adoption of the landing law is to silence the remaining voices of dissent and to create legitimate grounds for comprehensive online censorship by threatening the freedom of expression online,” said Jonah Simanska, an expert on Russian Internet censorship in Article 19. Community group in London.

Representing companies including Telegram in cases against the Russian government, Mr. Sikov said he met last year to discuss Facebook’s Russia policies. He asked for advice on whether Facebook executives should leave Russia, in which he said Facebook and Instagram should be cut off. The company instead complied with the laws.

Mr. Sikov urged technology companies to speak out against Russian demands, and set a broad precedent for combating censorship, even if it results in sanctions.

“There have been times when big technology companies have been at the forefront not only of technology but also of civil rights and freedom of expression and privacy,” he said. “Now they are behaving like big transnational corporations defending their business interests.”

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Anton Troyanovsky And Oleg Matsnev Contributed report.

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