back to article Kremlin names the internet giants it will kidnap the Russian staff of if they don't play ball in future

The Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has told 13 foreign businesses, predominantly US tech firms, they must set up and/or maintain offices in Russia if they want to keep doing business in the country. The list includes Google, Meta/Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Telegram, as first reported by Reuters. Zoom, Viber …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having previously wondered about visas for family becoming part of employee negotiations, this news has me now wondering how many families of Kaspersky's employees will all show up at the next company party held somewhere outside of Russia, say Switzerland? Hey let's all learn to ski! на запад?

  2. streaky

    Oh noes..

    Pretty sure I know what my response to that would be..

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Oh noes..

      I wouldn't take that job either... I rather eat at a soup kitchen and live at the YMCA.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: I rather... live at the YMCA

        At least the music's better!

      2. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Oh noes..

        I have it on good authority that it's fun to stay at the YMCA.

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Oh noes..

          I wouldn't make a song and dance over it

        2. chivo243 Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Oh noes..

          "I have it on good authority that it's fun to stay at the YMCA." Especially for young men!

        3. Bongwater

          Re: Oh noes..

          I'd rather join the Navy, I think I was told I can sail the seven seas or some such thing.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Oh noes..

      i was on a webinar a year or two ago, with some big name companies talking about doing business in China, and the conversation about holding the passwords to systems came up, and that it was responsibility of employees there to make sure they were not handed over, which lead to the RIPA act and what is China's version of it and what risk there is to employees.

      The main gist I got was well it's not ideal, but were not going to be the people on that front line.

      You couldn't pay me enough.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Oh noes..

        which lead to the RIPA act and what is China's version of it

        A ¥31.93 wrench, at today's exchange rates.

        See https://xkcd.com/538/

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Oh noes..

          Wielded against a masochist with no family to threaten?

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Lead by example

    Send Zuck as the inaugural Russian bureau chief for Meta

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Lead by example

      Throw those others in too... Mr. Cook, your room is ready!

  4. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Unhappy

    On the Ocean Blue

    President Putin's g-men aren't shy about arresting people at their offices and detaining them for months if they think it's justified.

    Pure coincidence:

    .

    .

    The very previous page I read was from a link linked to a comment on your today's article on Tuvalu. If not particularly interesting to most of the world it is an excellent report of how the Coast Guard of the United States' regime --- seeming far away from home --- hold boatloads of [ alleged ] cocaine smugglers, and do not arrest them until they can be taken to a selected friendly court in a US State, mostly it seems Florida, reliable for many things.

    .

    These organizations justify the long detention periods by pointing out the logistical hurdles associated with patrolling over six million square miles of ocean and the fact that most Latin American countries do not allow air transfer of detainees to the United States. If the U.S. government is serious about combating the unrelenting flow of northbound cocaine with only a handful of Coast Guard cutters deployed at any given time, such assets cannot be taken out of the fight for several days just to transit one smuggling crew to port.

    .

    One might assume the cutters could also employ a fast centralised transit ship for this purpose; or an aircraft-carrier, or a submarine even...

    .

    Most notably, the New York Times Magazine chronicled how, in a span of six years, “more than 2,700 men […] have been taken from boats suspected of smuggling Colombian cocaine to Central America, to be carried around the ocean for weeks or months as the American ships continue their patrols.”

    https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/how-long-can-the-u-s-coast-guard-detain-smugglers

    .

    I actually couldn't give a fig about The War on Drugs --- although I would agree most of the people involved are probably no better than they should be --- however, if kidnapped whilst on the briny, they ought to be given a fast arraignment. I can't imagine why the Universal Imperium of America now extends past their own territorial limits: but despite their shrill excitement over people taking stupid stuff --- remembering that it was mostly the USA that demanded drugs become illegal and then blackmailed and threatened most other countries into adopting American Values --- there remains a possibility that someone with drugs in the High Seas might possibly be moving them to a country not the USA where that drug is legal.

    1. Def Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: On the Ocean Blue

      And you don't think there's a tiny difference between smuggling illegal substances* and criticising the government?

      * Exactly how many countries are there where cocaine is legal?

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        You think detaining people without trial for an indeterminate length of time because they may be doing something illegal is acceptable?

        It seems odd to me that some are entitled to 'due process' and others aren't?

        1. chololennon
          Trollface

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          "You think detaining people without trial for an indeterminate length of time because they may be doing something illegal is acceptable?"

          Do you mean Guantanamo?

        2. Def Silver badge

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          International law requires all vessels must be registered somewhere, and sail under the flag of that jurisdiction. When sailing in international waters a vessel and any person on board is considered subject to the laws of that jurisdiction. Sailing without a flag effectively allows any state to intervene and make you subject to its laws under the premise of contravening international law.

          So... if you sail under a flag with a stash of cocaine on board, you're guilty of possession of illegal substances. (Unless you know of a country where it's legal to possess cocaine.) If you sail without a flag, you're guilty of breaking international law - for which any state can essentially punish you.

          The US coastguard doesn't automatically have the right to just board any vessel they like flying under a flag in international waters. That's effectively piracy. However, they are allowed to board vessels flying under flags of nations that have consented or waived objection to the U.S. enforcement of its drug laws.

          And finally, this has nothing to do with due process. People aren't imprisoned indefinitely without charges or trial. The circumstance of distance affords a certain leeway in such matters. It's not really any different to being detained pending extradition.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        illegal substances and criticising the government

        There may be a greater similarity than at first appears. Drugs laws in many countries are very selectively enforced and enforced in an overtly political manner: protecting the establishment and its friends and demonising particular target groups.

        Having said that, Russia is - at least on this occasion - limiting itself to enforcing its own rules in its own country, whereas...

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: On the Ocean Blue

      I know we're getting well off topic here, but wouldn't detaining people on the high seas and hauling them off to wherever you like be legally shaky? This sounds like piracy, particularly with the indefinite detention bit.

      It would be fine if the (alleged) smugglers were detained in someone's territorial waters, but then they should be charged locally.

      What would the charge be? Possession of drugs (well, yes, commercial amounts) on the high seas? Is there an "intent to smuggle" crime?

      1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        It may come as a surprise that laws of the land tend not to hold on the sea.

        I lost an old friend to a cruise ship who claimed he 'acted erratically', then smothered him to his end. His parents got no joy from seeking justice or even closure.

        You wanna have some say about what goes on at sea? Quit lubbin' yer land, grab hold of a boat and go fetch horizon.

        But you best bring some long guns...

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          This leads to an interesting potential result;

          As you say, it's legal in extreme circumstances, for a ship's captain to execute someone if they believe they are endangering the safety of the vessel.

          The Disney corporation runs several cruise ships, and on those ships, some of the 'cast members' (Disney speak for the people who dress up as Micky Mouse etc.) also have extensive training so that they can help in an emergency, even to the point of commanding a lifeboat if necessary.

          These two things together mean that (depending on a series of very unfortunate events), it is possible for you to be legally executed by a Disney Princess.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: On the Ocean Blue

            Now that's a snuff film I'd watch!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        " This sounds like piracy, particularly with the indefinite detention bit."

        Piracy is operating without government sanction. As long as you have government backing you can do what you want in international waters (privateering)

        The fact that it may violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither here nor there. American Fascists have been trying to overturn it since 1948 (they simply branded themselves as anticommunists after WW2 rather than actually going away completely) and mostly stopped the pretence entirely after 1990

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          Piracy is operating without government sanction. As long as you have government backing you can do what you want in international waters (privateering)

          Every civilised country in the world agreed to abolish privateering back in 1856 as it was thought that private interests arming ships and men and using them for their private gains outside of any control on the basis of "might makes right" was as stupid as it sounds described in that manner.

          1. lotus123

            Re: On the Ocean Blue

            There is no legal framework today that prohibits privateering. It is legal.

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: On the Ocean Blue

              Other than the treaty of Paris banning privateering and section 7 of the Hague convention which lays twelve conditions upon the conversion of a merchant ship into a warship under terms which prevent it's use as a privateer, nothing whatsoever.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        The US killed a hundred thousand Iraqis because Saddam Hussein wasn't buying as much anthrax from the US as he used to. You think they worry about locking a few dozen people up for the odd month or two?

        1. Zolko Bronze badge

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          because Saddam Hussein wasn't buying as much anthrax

          I think that the real reason was because Saddam Hussein wanted to sell Iraq's petrol to Europe in €uro, not Dollars. Which of course, would have spelled the doom of the petro-dollar empire.

          1. very angry man

            Re: On the Ocean Blue

            I'm sorry I can only give 1 up vote for truth, so fuck'n rare these days.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: On the Ocean Blue

            .. which, by the way, is looming yet again, but this time at the hands of the Chinese.

            And they can shoot back..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The US killed a hundred thousand Iraqis

          Not just the US, the UK was right at the front of that criminal action.

          Now we can't even acknowledge that our stupid war is connected to the bodies floating in the Channel.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The US killed a hundred thousand Iraqis

            Not just the US, the UK was right at the front of that criminal action.

            Yes, one T Blair was supportive to such an extend that the one expert who called them out on their WMD BS had to be "suicided".

            Even Boris hasn't gone that low yet.

        3. Richard Jones 1

          Re: On the Ocean Blue

          Would you like to dig up a few thousand dead marsh Arabs to discuss how lovely Saddam, Kuwait's invader, was?

    3. sova

      Re: On the Ocean Blue

      The subject of today's lesson is: How to spot a Russian troll?

      1. Does the post contain many facts and a possibility of introducing alternative "facts" Check!

      2. Does the post is off-topic, therefore moving conversations to a different path? Check!

      3. Does the post say how Americans/Europeans are evil? Check!

      4. Does the post not even once mention Russia? Check!

      Congratulations! You now have basic skills in detecting a Russian agent of influence.

      1. Toe Knee

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        I actually like that checklist. Consider it stolen and made "artsy" for presentation. You can be credited if you like, though!

    4. Jonjonz

      Re: On the Ocean Blue

      Yea they are technically suspects, but having a few tons of illegal substance in your boats hold is pretty damming evidence.

      Tought tomatoes, you putter your boat full of drugs into US waters, you takes your chances.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: On the Ocean Blue

        As we've been saying: it's the "international waters" bit that's troubling here, not "in someone's terrotorial waters".

  5. Binraider Silver badge

    Control over propaganda, election manipulation if not rigging, corruption defaults. Sounds just like home!

    With WW3 lining up as we type one should not be surprised. It all feels a bit like the Sudetenland situation at the moment.

  6. beardman

    a state run by mafia

    that's what russia is. i don't understand how that country haven't evolved over thousand years to have a normal or at least resembling to normal government. at all times it was some insane person at the helm... kind of sad, when you think about it...

    1. julian.smith
      Big Brother

      Re: a state run by mafia

      ... starting to sound a bit like the USA

      ... and Donald is Putin's bitch

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: a state run by mafia

      It seems that countries can maintain stable cultures over long periods. The only real change from Czarist Russia is who's at the top.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: a state run by mafia

        Same goes for all cultures. What I call the ur-culture is incredibly stable. Pick up 2000yo Chinese documents -- identical. Read "History of the Franks" by Geoffrey of Tours, ~1500yo -- identical.

        Only the superficies change.

        1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

          Re: a state run by mafia

          Walking 700 years in regards to the plight of black folks...

          What you're saying checks out.

          While I envy the optimistic human arguments of growth and kumbaya, lately I'm simply weary of labouring under pretence.

          Y'gotta know some history to not get caught up under it.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: a state run by mafia

      It's not the only one, just less subtle than most

    4. jason_derp Silver badge

      Re: a state run by mafia

      "i don't understand how that country haven't evolved over thousand years to have a normal or at least resembling to normal government."

      I'd say that about most human governments. Maybe I have a more stringent definition of "normal" than most.

    5. batfink Silver badge

      Re: a state run by mafia

      It is very sad. However, unfortunately it's not a given that societies will eventually (or permanently) evolve into multi-party democracies, or even some form of government that actually is good for the populace at large.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: a state run by mafia

      If they were SERIOUS they would not make TROPISH BAD GUY SPEECHES.

      They'd JUST F-ING DO IT.

      What's the deal with ANNOUNCING YOUR PLANS like that... *INTIMIDATION* ???

      ("Bad Guy" monologues - like a poorly written B movie super-villain)

      *FACEPALM*

      This reminds me of that one scene from the old "Stargate SG-1" Sci FI TV series...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjlCVW_ouL8

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: a state run by mafia

        Sliding scale of debate. They're only at the Intimidation stage. Coercion will follow.

        Don't jump the gun if you're not sure the other side will welcome World War III or not.

    7. ragnar

      Re: a state run by mafia

      Governments don't evolve over thousands of years, they are formed in response to immediate political events. This particular government is the consequence of allowing capitalists to assume control of the lion's share of state assets after the fall of Communism.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reports of armed men loitering outside Google's offices in Russia

    they were nothing more than just some random, stranded refugees that just happened to come across a crate of automatics or two on the roadside, as is usually the case in Russia. But, worry not, the authorities are already investigating!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: reports of armed men loitering outside Google's offices in Russia

      They were probably just Little Green Men. Russian media said they were polite people.

    2. genghis_uk Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: reports of armed men loitering outside Google's offices in Russia

      I'm not sure where the Google office is located but if it was in Moscow, there are 4 cathedrals in the Kremlin so maybe they were checking them out to see if the spires measured up to the 123m Salisbury one.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: reports of armed men loitering outside Google's offices in Russia

        Are you saying Russians have spire envy?

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Making the world a better place?

    It feels like we are getting to the point where we would make the world a better place if we just cut China and Russia off from the rest of the Internet. Just cut all links. Its what China wants, and what Russia is working towards. No more external influence, let them have there own webs.

    But make sure it works both ways. No Chinese hackers, no Russian malware operators, no vpn's letting them get out.

    One Internet for them, one for the rest of us. Sounds like it would make the world a much nicer place...

    1. Bendacious

      Re: Making the world a better place?

      It's not a good idea to judge the people of a country by their leaders, even in cases where the leaders were elected by those people. Personally my shambling, immoral, opportunist leader won a landslide election victory in 2019 with 33% of the population voting for him, after a year or two of constant negative press about his main opponent. If we prevent the people of China and Russia from reading Stephen Fry's tweets, how are we any better than their leaders?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Making the world a better place?

        If their leaders (perhaps "keepers" would have been a better word) are already prepared to prevent those of the people who can read English from reading Stephen Fry's tweets then whatever we do would make little difference it that regard. It would, however, stop incursions from their side.

        Unfortunately this sort of action wasn't taken years ago to nip the whole thing in the bud.

    2. FIA Silver badge

      Re: Making the world a better place?

      <sings>

      Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere

      And build them a home

      A little place of their own

      The Fletcher Memorial Home

      For Incurable Tyrants and Kings

      Is everyone in??

    3. lotus123

      Re: Making the world a better place?

      You sir are an idiot. Free flow of information is the best thing that helps to combat all wrongs done by governments. Btw our own governments start crying wolf whenever some local ruler cuts off the Internet access during unrest. Be at least consistent.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Making the world a better place?

      "But make sure it works both ways. No Chinese hackers, no Russian malware operators, no vpn's letting them get out.

      One Internet for them, one for the rest of us. Sounds like it would make the world a much nicer place..."

      The internet is already moving in that direction, to the detriment of all users. There are already self-selecting people stuck in their own echo chambers, and places like China are doing it to their entire country.

      Balkanisation is rarely helpful.

  9. MJI Silver badge

    Just don't bother.

    If they cut you off they cut you off, then block Russia from the rest of the internet

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Just don't bother.

      Russia has already done that a few times.

      Russian friends I talk to freely admit their country is run by kleptocrats but also ask what they can do when the gangsters have guns.

      Cutting Russia off plays into the hands of those in power. Information _is_ power and those who can control its flow to the masses wield much

      UUCP was a _very_ powerful tool back in the 1990s. Store and forward/burst mode will be again if authorities attempt to clamp down on free flow of data

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just don't bother.

        Radio detection tech has advanced quite a bit in the intervening decades, too. Not to mention authoritarian countries are getting more ruthless. Combine the ability to discern pirate radio from just about anywhere with a country that could find a significant portion of the population expendable, and...

        Let's just say things could get a lot uglier. And that's not taking into consideration people that may welcome World War III.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russia is gone

    for a short time, in early 1990s, I had this vague, warm feeling that 'things are getting better around the world', particularly with the collapse of the Soviet Union (end of history and all that). But I was stupid / naive (no consolation I was hardly alone), it was not a change for the better in Russia, it was a window that somebody opened, clearly by mistake, and soon slammed it tight, and they're bricking it up fast, same way they bricked up those windows in buildings that stood along Berlin wall (before they blew them up in the end). It's really sad to watch Russia sinking, really fantastic country, but people appear to chose the fatalist approach (no, it's gonna fail, no, it's doomed, no, you don't understand, it can't work here). And with such attitude it's pretty much guaranteed it's never gonna work. I feel sorry for them, I know they're used to 'this', and currently it's practically no different to what they know from commie times, minus foreign travel and access to information, but even these options are being bricked up, unless you're one of those maggots that feed on rot, or bright enough to jump the ship and move elsewhere. And their own, national media are depressing too, those paid by the state peddle the usual story of the West trying - again! - to 'get' poor, defenseless mother Russia, mixed with images of how this West is on the brink of collapse itself (riots, lgbt, refugees, covid, riots, shootings, lgbt, covid, etc.), while those that remain relatively independent seem to have gone into a sort of embarrassed, stony-face reporting of yet another covid wave in St. Petersburg, another corruption scandal in some obscure Russian town where local mayor or police chief played God (but don't you dare to suggest he might have been linked to somebody higher up, who was linked to somebody higher up, who was linked to somebody...). And some inconvenient events, like that Glasgow summit, are just 'disappeared' from the news altogether. Climate? Yeah, we heard of this silly, decadent western idea... Same reporting about the latest google spat: the spokesperson said, the representative from the ministry said, here's today's weather for Moscow. Old rusty, iron curtain going down.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Russia is gone

      I sort of miss the 'proper' cold war. Life was so simple - 'West = good', 'Russia = bad', 'China = nobody knows what they're doing'.

      Apart from a few 'useful idiots', everyone was in agreement.

      1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: Russia is gone

        Funny to think the Cold War was the calm before the storm, eh?

        Can't be blamed for hoping we'd pull out of it; a candle looks like a floodlight in the dark.

        I've met a few guys that required multiple people to pull them out of a fight. Fewer (my favourites) took it upon themselves to stop their own fighting. Usually after a particularly bad fight.

        I think we might have good things if we can just stick together and get through the shitty things.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Russia is gone

          "Funny to think the Cold War was the calm before the storm, eh?"

          Hardly! Cuban missile crisis and constant proxy wars. On the other hand, yeah, everyone pretty much knew who was on each side.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Russia is gone

        well, I miss it too, though in my neck of the woods, propaganda went the other way of course, i.e. West = good, Russia = bad. Though on China the message was pretty much the same (they're commies, like us, but wtf are they REALLY doing out there?!). Unofficially we believed that, in general, the opposite is true (West = good Russia = bad. Then, the West got demythologised, but hey, look here, Russia is still bad, some simple truths are... universal, eh?! :(

        btw, regardless of how bad Russia is (and it is bad), the amount of anti-Russian propaganda in western mass-media is staggering. I get it, it's only partly encouraged (rally around the flag, us v. them, etc.,), and in general it's just lazy media, pick an easy target, paint with a broad stroke, etc., but I find it's turned into a joke, when everything is becoming Russians' fault...

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Russia is gone

          Not everything.

          Some stuff is apparently France's fault. And yes, it gets tiring.

          (note - I live in France)

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Russia is gone

            France's behaviour in the South Pacific didn't exactly help its PR

            1. Kabukiwookie

              Re: Russia is gone

              Or in north Africa.

              But that goes for all countriea that used to have overseas colonies, so not particularly a France issue, more a 'greedy bastards at the top of the food chain'prbkem.

      3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Russia is gone

        You sort of 'miss' the cold war

        You mean you miss the times that a wonky american computer, or a drunk russian general could have handed me an 8 min or so lifespan?

        and thats before the insane rambling of the president or the war memories of the 90yr old party chief could have set things off?

        You miss the times of the wars fought in the 3rd world...

        Ah yes.... the american backed government is fighting the communist backed rebels(or vice versa)...

        How are they fighting?

        By killing anyone else they can find in the country(or country next door)

        Then asking for charity to feed the survivors(live aid anyone?)

        Its only a matter of time before Putin's power falls over much as the power of the communist party did or the Tsars before that...

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Russia is gone

      I am beginning to suspect that people get the government that suits them. They may not want it, but it's what they always get in the end. Russia gets dictators, the arab states get theocracy, africa gets kleptocrats.

      What do we get? Ineffectual bulshitters, perhaps?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Russia is gone

        I agree, comrade, it's like dog owners that look like their dogs (or the other way round). Or bmw drivers (or was it audi?), or... er... well, kinda.

      2. MrDamage

        Re: Russia is gone

        We get Rupert Murdoch.

        As an Australian, I would like to apologise for the fact that he was not stillborn.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Western governments detain people too"

    Indeed they do, but not for apps on smartphones or comments on social media.

    Criticizing your government is a right enshrined in the Constitution of any democratic country. As soon as you start cracking down on people who say they don't like you or what you're doing, Democracy has gone out the window.

    Although there never has been any Democracy in Russia to start with, so . . .

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: "Western governments detain people too"

      Hmm. Then the lack of a UK constitution explains the current moves by the Home Secretary (Interior Minister) to basically outlaw protests. In the Bill currently going through Parliament, the latest wheeze is that protests can be stopped by the police if a single person reports that the protest is causing them "serious enease, alarm or distress".

      1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: "Western governments detain people too"

        You are right, but nobody seems to care, the mostly right wing press is but distantly affiliated with the truth and... first past the post.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Western governments detain people too"

        yes, general freedoms in the UK have been under constant restriction over the last, what, 20 years? And yes, it's like with boiling the frog, I don't protest so I don't care about those f... loonies. But when you finally find a reason to lift your (hairy) ass and go out to protest - zap! Surprised?! Well, too f... late!

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: "Western governments detain people too"

          Wait - you can tell my arse is hairy? Damn, where's that "camera off" button...?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "Western governments detain people too"

          Unfortunately, it's an "arms race" with "loony" protestors getting more and more extreme and so the response gets more extreme.

          What happened to marching through a city centre with your 1000's of supporters? I know, there's only a few of us so lets just glue ourselves to the middle of a motorway!

          Yeah, they have a point, but WTF?

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: it's an "arms race" with "loony" protestors getting more and more extreme

            The suffragettes used to blow people's house up.

            You're just parroting some hyperbole you've heard in our (incredibly right wing) media.

            Blocking a busy road is not the same as bombing someone's house.

            1. genghis_uk Silver badge

              Re: it's an "arms race" with "loony" protestors getting more and more extreme

              Our media is only as right wing as you want it to be - read the Mail, Express or the Sun and you get what you deserve...

              The Observer, Grauniad, Independent etc. are all left of centre - unless that is not left enough for you... Morning Star maybe?

              As the BBC is regularly hammered from let and right they probably are not as biased as you may think although they have been traditionally centre-left. Governments from both sides have tried to de-fund them by tinkering with the license fee.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: it's an "arms race" with "loony" protestors getting more and more extreme

              "Blocking a busy road is not the same as bombing someone's house."

              No, it isn't. I suppose we should be grateful for that at least.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: "Western governments detain people too"

      > As soon as you start cracking down on people who say they don't like you or what you're doing, Democracy has gone out the window.

      Just ask Julian Assange(tm)...

      1. alisonken1

        Re: "Western governments detain people too"

        Or, better yet, all the relatives of those people whom Julian specifically named in those released documents ....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pascal Monett - Re: "Western governments detain people too"

      Perhaps you just missed how Spanish government hunted down the Catalan leader fighting for independence while democratic governments were looking the other way.

    4. sabroni Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: but not for apps on smartphones or comments on social media.

      People don't get arrested in the West for posting things on social media?

      I think maybe you need to spend a little time on techdirt.com.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I'm by no means a fan of the Russian government nor of Putin, I do feel like this isn't a bad thing, and it's something all countries around the world should demand.

    When massive, multinational companies are doing business and profiting in your country, they absolutely should be forced to maintain a presence there, and, by extension, they need to make sure they obey the laws of the land. How else is a country supposed to enforce the laws if there's no one to prosecute?

    The current system of doing business by proxy is why we have huge corporations who are able to dodge local taxes, which also pisses me off. Sure, the issue in the article is not tax related, but if Google/MS/whoever want revenue from Russia, they need to open a local office and employ some locals.

    A lot of people are getting up-in-arms because its Russia,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      People are up in arms because it's Russia and because Russia doesn't play by the rules.

      For the EU there are requirements for some companies which sell regulated products (eg pharmaceuticals) ) to have physical representation in an EU country.

      This is the cost of doing business and accepted - because no one is going to pitch up at the registered office and haul away the occupants without at least a fair hearing in court and whatever the local equivalent of habeus corpus is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, the cost of doing business in Russia is now you need to have physical representation in Russia.

        They just set the bar at the same level as the EU.

        "because no one is going to pitch up at the registered office and haul away the occupants without at least a fair hearing in court and whatever the local equivalent of habeus corpus is."

        The *only* example provided in the article of employees being arrested previously was for an app which interfered with the voting in nation elections, the exact thing the US kicked off about last year. And, incidentally, the same thing that Cambridge Analytica were doing. I think you are painting an overly bleak picture of the situation based on preconceived notations that Russia=bad

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          did someone mention useful idiots/shills?

          seems the call was answered!!!..

          someones trying to mixup actual interference with elections, with tactical voting due to goverment abuse of position.

          No cambridge analytica was just another sneeky peddler of lies. (some of the money tracks back to russia/putin, you only need to fuck a country over by creating chaos - brexshit/trump for example)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            but at the heart of it, you are arguing for large corporations profiting in countries where they have no physical presence and thus cannot be held accountable to local laws.

            and I am the shill?

            "someone's trying to mixup actual interference with elections, with tactical voting due to government abuse of power"

            the fact you felt the need to justify the potentially ill-intended act of organizing 'tactical voting' (wtf is that by the way if not interference) shows you know it could be perceived as morally reprehensible.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Too damn many ACs here, but...

              thus cannot be held accountable to local laws

              If accountability means abducting people until the local often-unreasonable demands have been met, I can't help but think that the correct response is "bugger this" and just walking away.

              As for whether or not it's done in the EU, I think you'll find most EU actions are against the company, not directly at the company's employees. And western states don't have histories of disappearing random corporate grunts in order to make a point. That's the difference.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                "If accountability means abducting people until the local often-unreasonable demands have been met, I can't help but think that the correct response is "bugger this" and just walking away."

                This! If doing business in a country becomes too onerous for whatever reason, then you up sticks and leave. In some cases, that might mean hardships in the affected country and cause change. In others, it will mean local companies will fill the void. But some of the big multinationals seem to think they can ride roughshod over anyone and it doesn't matter so long as they get their profits and squash the competition. The online tech companies are probably the worst for this because they don't always need a physical presence and feel they have a right to operate anywhere they see fit, in they any way they see fit.

                Now, as per the article, the sub-text of what Russia is saying is not good for anyone, least of all their own citizens, but the obvious answer is to just pull out of Russia completely. Let Russia try to block their services and see what happens. That may be more difficult for MacDonalds or any other foreign business with people and physical assets, but then they aren't the targets this time because they already have the physical presence. Has MacDonalds been strongarmed into any actions they'd not normally take yet? Are they paying protection money as the "cost of doing business"? Being forced to use local ingredients or put special Russian-Only items on the menu (or is that just normal business anyway?)

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  "This! If doing business in a country becomes too onerous for whatever reason, then you up sticks and leave. In some cases, that might mean hardships in the affected country and cause change. In others, it will mean local companies will fill the void."

                  But the risk and reward calculations can change. Note the same thing is less likely to happen with a place like China, which carries a significant portion of the global human population on its own. Some things can just be too tempting, especially when coupled with a potential threat of competition leveraging what you may leave behind to eat YOU for lunch...

      2. chololennon
        Facepalm

        "People are up in arms because it's Russia and because Russia doesn't play by the rules."

        OMG, in what world do you live in? There are countless examples of western countries not playing by the rules. I can make you a list if you want.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          and that would be whataboutery

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ... very popular in Russia, I hear (or so says wikipedia, that informal tool of western imperialism and revanchism and countless other isms). But, fear not, comrades, we, the Gov of Russia, will make our own pedia, better, and bigger, and truer and the whole world will die of envy! - And they genuinely (claim to) try to set up just that. And then they will sulk when the whole world mocks them....

          2. lotus123

            Yup. Do as I say, not as I do.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Censoring the international press

    How do you censor the international press? Convince them that doing business in your country is more lucrative for them than being honest with the world. It's a big ask, Russia is not an especially big market.

    Everybody needs to shut up shop in Russia and walk. But can the freedom we all love so much in the West triumph over the profits that some of us love even more? I do hope so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But can the freedom we all love so much in the West triumph

      your hope is naive (though I share the same) and wrong in the face of facts, re. how those democracy-equality-green-happy-clappy big corps prance around China, because BIG! BUCKS MAN! Ironically, some news yesterday...

      JPMorgan Has $20 Billion at Stake as Dimon Jokes About China

      “The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year — so is JPMorgan,” Dimon had said in a speech at Boston College on Tuesday. “I’d make a bet that we last longer.”

      At the time, Dimon acknowledged the quip might stir controversy. “I can’t say that in China,” Dimon had added. “They are probably listening anyway.”

      ...

      Jamie Dimon’s eyebrow-raising joke about JPMorgan Chase & Co. outlasting China’s Communist Party has so far been met by public silence from officials in Beijing.

      ...

      JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said he regrets making a quip that his bank is likely to outlast China’s Communist Party.

      “I regret and should not have made that comment,” Dimon said in a statement from the bank Wednesday. “I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company.”

      So, it's not basic decency, not blatant human rights violations, not even Western governments' nudging, but the fear of losing billions that makes people publicly embarrass themselves with their genuine-true-heartfelt-no-I-really-mean-it apologies. But let's not mock those fine people at the top, billions of 'consumers', including myself, don't give a flying monkey about basic decency or blatant human rights violations either, as long as we get cheaper 'goods'. FUCK blatant human rights violations, I want my latest shitty-shiny made in China, and I want it NOW!

    2. Zolko Bronze badge

      Re: Censoring the international press

      the freedom we all love so much in the West

      the current times are not very good to brag about freedom in the west: from Julian Assange to Edward Snowden, Guantanamo and Abu Graib, through the covid lockdowns/curfews/Ausweis ... this doesn't look like "freedom" to me.

      1. Citizen of Nowhere

        Re: Censoring the international press

        I was with you until you compared wearing a mask, having to stay at home or getting vaccinated with illegal detention, torture and murder.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose the US's having a Huawei exec held isn't comparable. After all, they didn't actually do it themselves, they got a neighbour to do it. Something about casting the first stone...

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Hey! Canada is more than just a mere neighbour! We're Prime Minstrel-driven, boot-licking, toadying lackeys without any notion of our own foreign affairs policies!

      Or, as Homer Simpson once called us:

      America Junior.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't work if the companies are evil enough

    The simplest evil solution is to find people that can be tricked into working at the sacrificial office (just get them to sit around all day reading books or something) and let them be arrested.

    I wonder how long it would take Russia to realise that arrests aren't working. They've been at it for 4 years against the Jehovah's Witnesses, giving out 7 to 15 year sentences for reading the wrong version of the Bible (which is longer than the sentences they give to murderers), and it seems to have no effect whatsoever apart from making Russia look really stupid for wasting its police time in this way (and hardly anybody blames the JWs for encouraging their fans to read something that lands them in jail: it's generally agreed that Russia is the bad guy here). You won't get that many people willing to go to jail for a company, but you only need a few for one office, and if the whole programme of arrests is driven by some kind of checkbox mentality to say we "did" it, without checking if doing it even works, then it could take years for Russia to realise they need a new strategy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't work if the companies are evil enough

      Actually what they're doing to the JWs is the equivalent of arresting the individual users after the offices have been shut down, and falsely accusing those users of having run the office.

      I expect they'll go after the Telegram users next. After all, the Daily Mail called it a Jihadi messaging app, so that ought to be 15 years for all users if Russia's treatment of JWs is anything to go by.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Won't work if the companies are evil enough

        It's what you call a war of attrition. Tends to get pretty ugly because it becomes a case of who cracks first. Do the Russians decide it's no longer worth it, or does the firm run out of sacrificial lambs?

  16. Blackjack Silver badge

    I wonder how many contracts in Russia will have a "immediately fired if suspected of a crime" or something similar clause?

    "Ha! We got your employees do as I say!"

    "Ha! Since you arrested them they are fired as it says clearly in their contract!"

    And if that's not legal, there is always temporary contracts that in spanish are called "contratos basura".

    Or you know, these companies will just stop doing business with Russia.

  17. Miss Config
    Pint

    So No Hacking From Russia

    the regulator can take "coercive measures," such as removing the foreign businesses from Russian web search results, banning them from advertising or collecting data in the nation, and imposing other restrictions

    So from Russia nobody would be able to hack into, say, Microsoft's cloud, 'cos they could not find it in the first place ?

    Hypothetically of course. Russians would NEVER do that kind of thing.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    ...ensure Russia can physically get its hands on someone...

    Or just have a known target building for "chechen terrorists" to blow up as a way of getting the message across.

    One of my ex-colleagues was picking up his girlfriend out-of-hours at the weekend from the offices of a large, western computer company. The security bloke called up to tell them to get out of the building. Now. The anonymous white van that had been abandoned outside went KABOOM shortly afterwards. The clue was the local cops turning up to ticket the vehicle after security reported it, looking inside and promptly leaving the area at Warp 12.

    That company's only crime was suggesting to the FSB that they might like to actually, you know, pay for their computers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A known building?

      That would include knowing which data lines to monitor wouldn't it?

  19. Martin Silver badge
    Headmaster

    There must be a better way of phrasing that headline...

    Kremlin names the internet giants it will kidnap the Russian staff of if they don't play ball in future

    Am i the only person who had to read the headline twice before I made sense of it?

    How about...

    Kremlin names the internet giants which will have their Russian staff kidnapped if they don't play ball in future?

    I know the grammar of the headline isn't important in the grand scheme of things - but is it SO hard to rearrange a sentence to avoid that "...staff of if..." in the middle?

  20. xyz123

    Google and other companies need to block the worldwide infrastructure around Russia. The Russian internet would essentially collapse in on itself due to how feeble the servers and systems are inside Russia (think 1990s tech struggling to cope behind the scenes and desperately reliant on western backbones), hopefully sparking an uprising against Putin and his murderous cronies.

  21. Snowy Silver badge
    Trollface

    Easy to bypass

    If you have little or no conscience, just hire someone local and give them no power, do all the work offsite. Then if they get locked up just hire someone else. A little less bad if they understand that they will be thrown to the wolfs when the "law" turns up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy to bypass

      Or, hire really old people, maybe homeless and/or a little demented, to "staff" the office. A nice salary, a nice apartment as a perk, All they need to do to earn that is turn up at the office, maybe answer the phone and transfer all calls to somebody else (outside the country). Full disclosure, I am old, but not homeless or demented, so far as I can tell yet.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Easy to bypass

      They should all appoint V. Putin as their local rep...

  22. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    So true

    Love the caption with the title. It's sadly true, though.

  23. Zolko Bronze badge
    IT Angle

    aren't you tired of that ridiculous assertion ?

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is being held in a Russian prison after surviving an assassination attempt, involving novichok poisoning, by FSB spies.

    You pretend that he was (attempted to be) murdered in Russia by high-ranking secret service agents with military-grade poison, and he got away unharmed, and then returned to Russia 3 month later ?

    Where is the IT angle to this propaganda ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: aren't you tired of that ridiculous assertion ?

      well, it's much more likely that he poisoned himself with a minor amount of state-grade poison that he'd purchased from dark net, by putting that poison in his pants (for comical effect, what else), having pre-arranged with Angela Merkel to have a plane from Germany sent to pick him up, then, after a few months, while pretending to be in hospital, he plotted to incriminate hapless Russian tourists in this western-fabricated hienous provocation, and finally this renegade returned to Russia to receive his due punishment for his long-term evildoing and plotting (have I mentioned plotting yet? against his motherland.That's what really happened.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: aren't you tired of that ridiculous assertion ?

      It is amazing how this so deadly and dangerous "novichok" never succeeds to actually kill anyone!

  24. herman Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    //\esc

    Russia is just a petrol station with a flag on top.

  25. HAL-9000
    Facepalm

    Official Russian Federation tourist board announcemnt

    Nice country you got their Vlad, can't say the urge to visit any time soon is pressing right now.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    downsides

    Boss I have a serious or legitmate complaint that even you would understand !!!

    sorry comrade- go to Gulag.

  27. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Same

    Isn't that the same what EU is going to do?

    If you have a service with user generated content you will have to set up EU legal presence in order to process censorship requests.

    This provision is included in TERREG that passed not so long ago.

    1. Zolko Bronze badge

      Re: Same

      Isn't that the same what EU is going to do?

      No it's not: Europe = good, Russia = bad. See the difference ?

  28. steviebuk Silver badge

    Just like China

    Although you have to partner with a Chinese company, so a large part of your company will be Chinese run. This isn't so the CCP can steal your tech, no its not ;o)

    So they care more about profits than their staff. Both Google and Apple are so massive they can afford to NOT be there, so why not do the decent thing and say "Fuck you Russia" and pull out of the country, simple.

    "Navalny said he was considering legal action against the two tech giants; the corporations said the app had been deemed unlawful by officials, and so it couldn't be distributed."

  29. T283ta

    You missing reasons.

    Try to imagine, that Facebook's infrastructure hosting you personal information on servers located in China, moderators who controls your FB's posts are sitting in Belarus and are citizens of North Korea. And no FB's office in UK. Could you?

    PS. FB storing PI/SPI about russians in US, moderators (for Russian segment of FB) are ukranians sitting in Lietuva.

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