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Google refuses to bow to Putin's pressure to store citizens' personal data in the country
Hours following its announcement that it is closing Google News in Spain, a rumor started to circulate that Google plans to relocate its 50 or so engineers out of its office in Russia to other parts of the world. The statement has been made by various news sources based the information on an "inside contact" at Google but no Google official statement has been made. If true, Google has decided that taking down its engineering team out of Russia is the only stance it could take when faced with new restrictive data storage policies and laws.
""We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers, and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them," said Google a statement provided to The information.
So why the move? Google said, "nyet"to Putin's minister of communication insistence that the tech giants stores personal data of its Russian users in Russia and gave access to the government. if Google follow suite with the threat of withdrawing ts engineerings, it would come just a few months after Adobe Systems, shut down its Russian office in September.
Why are tech companies rushing out suddenly? President Vladimir Putin’s government is pressuring providers of global Internet and of financial services such as Visa and Mastercard to store personal data on Russian users in the country, and has passed a law on the subject to take effect in January 2015.
The Kremlin's position is that the law is designed to protect data but critics and political opponents of the Putin's regime perceives this news it as another attempt by the government to censor internet access and misuse for political gain personal information of its citizens.
Most tech companies store user data in huge data storage facilities around the world and purposely do not link the location of the data to the location of the user, keeping the user's data anonymous.
Google fears that Russia is joining China its monitoring approach of its users. China is one of the most oppressive nation in the world when it comes to its monitoring of its Internet users.
At the time of going to press, I was unable to get confirmation from my Google contact in Mountain View about the report circulating. I will confirm once I hear back.
Update--12/14/14 - Google's press office has confirmed to me that the firm will be "transferring engineering out of Russia."
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