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Russia targets Apple and Google in new round of sanctions against Silicon Valley groups

Russian authorities imposed fines on Apple and Google (Alphabet) this week. This is Russia’s latest round of sanctions against US tech giants in connection with the war in Ukraine.

Tuesday, July 19, the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) said it wants to impose an undetermined fine on Apple for alleged violations of Russian competition law. According Reuters, Apple allegedly “abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of iOS applications. »

The move comes a day after Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzorimposed a fine of $374 million to Google, primarily due to the group’s refusal to remove any content from its YouTube platform that deviates from the Kremlin-sanctioned war narrative.

While the fine imposed on Apple isn’t directly related to the group’s wartime actions, it appears to be part of a broader crackdown on the company. Indeed, this decision comes a week after Russia imposed a fine on Apple of approximately $35,000 for alleged data breaches.

Russia blocked access to Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook (Meta) in March due to the removal of these platforms from Russian state-run accounts. Google suspended all ad sales in Russia in early March, but continued to operate its free services such as the search engine and YouTube, while Apple halted all sales in Russia at the same time. Last December, Russian authorities fined Meta $27 million and to Google a fine of $98 million for their respective refusal to remove content from their platforms. In March, the Russian parliament passed a law making it illegal to criticize the invasion of Ukraine or even discuss certain facts relating to the war, on pain of a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. . The Kremlin has also engaged in a legal soap opera with Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia refused to edit its Russian-language entry on the invasion of Ukraine, going against strict Russian news laws.

Google’s Russian subsidiary said in May that it was considering filing for bankruptcy after Russian authorities seized its bank account.

Last year, Alphabet and Meta paid Russian authorities hundreds of thousands of dollars following fines related to content violations. However, neither company has commented on their intention to pay the current fines, and Google’s Russian subsidiary’s bankruptcy filing indicates the group likely has no intention of paying.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Derek Saul

<<< Also read: Google Russia forced to declare bankruptcy >>>

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