Russian Parliament Votes to Force US Tech Giants to Open Local Offices or Face Punitive Measures

Apple and other U.S. tech companies could be forced to open offices in Russia or face punitive measures, as part of a push by Russia to improve its internet "sovereignty."

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Russian lawmakers passed legislation last week that requires foreign sites with more than half a million daily users in Russia to set up a local branch or Russian legal entity, reports Reuters:

Websites that do not comply would be marked as being non-compliant on search engines, they could be excluded from search engine results, and banned from advertising in Russia and for Russians, the parliament said on its website.

The bill's authors argue that the current lack of such a requirement allows foreign sites to formally remain outside of Russia's jurisdiction.

The legislation has passed its third and final reading in the country's lower house of parliament, and now needs to be approved by the upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, which is widely expected to happen.

The latest move follows several actions by the Russian government that allow it to further tighten state control of online content in the country. In 2017, Russia banned VPNs and other software that enables users to gain anonymous access to websites.

Apple in 2019 complied with the country's law requiring data on citizens to be stored on local servers, and earlier this year it was forced to show iOS users in the country a list of suggested apps created by Russian developers when setting up a new device.

Russia has also targeted apps and services more directly if it considers them to be in breach of local digital laws. For example, Russia tried to ban encrypted messaging app Telegram after it refused to comply with requests that it hand over the encryption keys that would allow it to access users' data.

More recently, in March, Russia intentionally slowed down Twitter's internet traffic to punish it for not deleting what it considered to be "banned content."

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Tag: Russia

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Top Rated Comments

wanha Avatar
38 months ago

The far left of the US are taking notes I'm sure.
The projection is strong with this one.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Marbles1 Avatar
38 months ago
I'm sure Apple, like most tech companies, will use virtual signalling, boast about their commitment to LGBT causes, green energy, and 'doing things the right way', but will also say 'WE COMPLY WITH LOCAL LAWS' and happily operate in awful regimes like China and Russia.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SurferPup Avatar
38 months ago
Sucks to live in Russia. Their Government should make a state issued smart phone and call it the Kremlin Garbage Broadcaster мобильный телефон with all your favourite bloatware: KGB Dobber, Comrade Dialer, iCCCP Message, WeFindU, PutinBook, ❤️CentralCommittee НетVPN, StateOwnsURass Contacts on the iSPYu OS.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beanbaguk Avatar
38 months ago
You have to love a good dictatorship! Power to the [S]people[/S], sorry, Putin!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beanbaguk Avatar
38 months ago

The far left of the US are taking notes I'm sure.
The far-right propaganda engine is clearly in full flow....
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
38 months ago
If companies want to operate outside their own borders then they'll have to start following local laws and paying local taxes. Russia has as much right to protect its interests and way of life as the USA does. That people think it is ok for websites and apps to break another countries laws because 'USA freedom!' is utterly daft.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)