Russia forces tech giants to open local offices

Photo: AP

Russia passed new legislation targeted at big US techology conglomerstes, Reuters reported. Under the new amendments that were approved by parliament, companies like Facebook and Google must open local offices and that should happen by January 2022. If they fail to do so the firms will face series of punitive actions aimed to keep Russia's internet "sovereignty".

Russia has cracked down on US internet companies this year and slowed down Twitter's internet traffic since March to punish it for not deleting what Moscow says is banned content. The new law, which passed its third and final reading in the lower house of parliament, requires foreign sites with more than 500,000 daily users in Russia to set up a local branch or Russian legal entity.

The lack of such a requirement currently allows foreign sites to formally remain outside of Russia's jurisdiction, the authors of the law noted. 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 announced.The bill needs to be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law. That is widely expected to happen.

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