Google is not denying recent claims that they have pulled all but sales and marketing representatives out of Russia, after restrictive laws were passed by Putin that will force the web mogul, along with all others like it, to keep information about Russian citizens on central databases strictly within the nation’s borders. The Russian government has been flexing its muscles throughout the year and going back as far as mid-2013 in regards to internet activity and information sharing.
The rule was passed in July as a means to allow Putin’s government the ability to remove anything deemed offensive or in breach of the general election rules that were set. All other “organizers of information distribution,” along with Google, are expected to comply as well. The Register states that these include Facebook and Twitter. In addition, any bloggers with a following of over 3,000 readers are expected to register with the state.
Putin has allegedly become frustrated with the Western world’s tech giants, and is antsy for the companies to fall in line with the new law. The Register reports that “senior officials warned Google and others that the government is still waiting for Western firms to acknowledge that they will abide by the new rules, and threatened to invoke financial and other penalties if they don’t knuckle under.”
The Business Insider reports the dangers that information platforms face in consorting and being under the control of nations which disallow freedom of speech.
“Google may well be joined in its escape by a host of entrepreneurs and engineers who want to work in less restrictive environments. Google and its various units have now withdrawn from, been kicked out of, or face crippling restrictions in Russia, China, Spain, and the EU generally. It shows how hobbled even the most innovative tech companies can become in countries that do not have laws guaranteeing free speech.”
Unfortunately, specific governments are succeeding in the short term in their attempts to control information sharing. Business Insider also communicates that Spain has recently passed a new rule which charges newspapers a fee before they are capable of sharing stories via Google. The rule will become effective in January.
However, Google and other giants like it are unlikely to suffer in the long-run for these strict sanctions. Business Insider recalls that the EU and U.S. spent much of the 90s attempting to break up Microsoft. Yet it was not the government that had consumers and users turning elsewhere, but a constantly evolving market with new and exciting products becoming more appealing, such as Apple and Google.
For now, however, Google will simply be closing down engineering operations in Russia amid the pressure to comply or else be fined.
[Feature image via International Business Times]