- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2019

Twitter was fined Friday by a judge in Moscow for failing to comply fully with controversial Russian data-localization rules, regional media reported.

Russian state internet regulators convinced a court that Twitter violated federal legislation that requires major internet companies to locally store the data of Russian users and give the government specific details about how that information is handled, multiple outlets reported.

Twitter was found guilty of breaching Article 19.7 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, “Failure to provide information,” and fined 3,000 rubles, or roughly $45, by Judge Anton Kozyrev, the reports said.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian government internet and media watchdog, has urged both Twitter and Facebook to abide by the data-localization law since it took effect in 2015, and late last year the agency began asking each company to explain the specific steps they plan to take to comply.

Twitter and Facebook responded to the requests in January, but their answers “did not contain specific information about the localization of databases of Russian users in the territory of the Russian Federation or about the time frame for such localization of databases to occur,” the head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, said previously.

Unsatisfied with their response, regulators subsequently initiated administrative cases against both California-based tech titans that culminated for Twitter in Friday’s ruling.

Twitter declined to comment on the ruling when reached by The Washington Times.

Violators of the data-localization law face a maximum fine of 5,000 rubles, or roughly $76, but also risk being banned by Russia internet regulators as a result of further noncompliance – a consequence suffered by late 2016 by LinkedIn, the American based jobs site.

Yulia Sukhinina, a press secretary of the Tagansky District Court of Moscow, confirmed the ruling in a statement published by privately-owned media outlets including Interfax, among others.

The similar case concerning Facebook is slated to be considered later this month.

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