Google Faces Huge Fines in Russia as Putin Ally Wins Lawsuit

Alphabet's Google is facing potentially heavy fines in Russia after a court ruled it must unblock the YouTube account of a TV channel owned by a sanctioned ally of President Vladimir Putin. From a report: The Moscow Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld an April ruling that ordered the U.S. technology giant to restore the Tsargrad account or face a daily fine, the channel said in a statement Thursday. Settlement talks between the two sides failed to yield a deal in August. Russia has stepped up confrontation with foreign social media and internet companies in what the government calls a campaign to uphold its digital sovereignty. Regulators have levied fines and slowed content in a bid to force companies including Google and Twitter to delete posts encouraging unauthorized protests and other material deemed illegal. In September, Google and Apple removed a protest-voting app from their Russian stores as parliamentary elections got underway after the authorities threatened to imprison their local staff. Google now faces a daily fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,360), which will double each week that the company refuses to comply. Tsargrad said the court capped the total fine at 1 billion rubles in the first nine months and then it will be allowed to grow further. Under Russian law, there's no upper limit on the potential fines.

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