Russia is warning Google, Twitter and Facebook that they could be banned in the country if they don’t agree to hand over data on Russian bloggers and allow the Kremlin to block certain websites, Reuters reported.
Moscow claims failure to do so would violate Russian Internet laws that President Vladimir Putin promotes as security measures, but critics say amount to censorship.
A spokesman for Russia’s media watchdog said the three firms use encryption technology that prohibits the government from blocking sites that promote “unsanctioned protests and unrest,” which is allowed under Moscow’s Internet laws.
The laws also mandate that companies turn over data on any Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day.
The media oversight agency wrote each company, pressing them to comply with these dicta.
“In our letters we regularly remind [companies] of the consequences of violating the legislation,” the spokesman, Vadim Ampelonsky, told Reuters.
Russia has passed a series of Internet control laws in recent years.
The Kremlin granted itself the power to remove, without court order, sites promoting unauthorized protests. Another law requires popular bloggers to register with the government.
It’s not clear how Google, Twitter and Facebook will respond to the request.
According to transparency reports from the three tech firms, they have previously rejected most, if not all, of Moscow’s requests for specific user data.
“We realize they are registered under U.S. jurisdiction,” Ampelonsky said. “But I think in this case they should demonstrate equal respect to national legislation.”