back to article Moscow court fines Pinterest, Airbnb, Twitch, UPS for not storing data locally

A Moscow court has fined Airbnb, Twitch, UPS, and Pinterest for not storing Russian user data locally, according to Russian regulator Roskomnadzor. The decision was handed down by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow after the four foreign companies allegedly did not provide documents confirming that the storage and …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

    How does that work exactly ? You still have to buy the product, right ? Or is this an open invitation to steal stuff and bring it to Moscow ?

    So, Putin is trying to get around all the bans. Twitter is fined ? Great, but Twitter can't pay the fine because Russia is cut off of SWIFT. Besides, Twitter couldn't care less.

    Zuckerberg is banned from entering Russia indefinitely ? Pah, he can barely get to Washington D.C. for a congressional hearing.

    Of course Putin is going to encourage piracy, he supports hackers.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

      Supporting piracy is fantastic, it totally destroys any native tech industry.

      There is no market for a home grown Office suite if you can use MS Office for free and no sense in writing any software I'd your customers assume they can steal it.

      No point in studying CS in Russia, may as well get a job in fast food.

      Can't see that having any long term economic or strategic effects

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

        No point in studying CS in Russia, may as well get a job in fast food

        Probably many CS professors have fled Russia by now, so the course offerings might be a thin on the ground.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

        Given the western progressive taxation ensures that no matter what you do, you make broadly the same money, there is not much incentive to study CS anywhere...

        1. DS999 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

          Yes, it is so unfair that I make just as much money as the biggest sports stars, entertainers and investors. You should stop by my oceanside Hamptons mansion sometime so we can put on the tinfoil hats and discuss this further.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

            Average CS engineer gets maybe £1k extra a month over someone stacking shelves. The difference that makes is that maybe you'll rent a slightly bigger flat and go to Caribbean for a holiday rather than Spain.

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

              If you think 1k per month isn't worth having, by all means send it to me. I can find a good use for it.

              But I suspect your figures are pulled out of your arse anyway.

              Right... So the average CS *graduate* in the UK makes 44k, according to figures from the universities (who, granted, do have an interest in talking this figure up, but for want of a better figure I'll take it for now), Compared with a minimum wage of just over 20k per year (assuming a 40 hour week).

              So, setting aside for now the considerations of quality of life, career prospects, career security, long term savings and the respect of their peers, you're right - the difference after tax is within shouting distance of what you've indicated - for a new graduate. Ten years later, mind, it'd be a different story.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

                "Right... So the average CS *graduate* in the UK makes 44k, according to figures from the universities (who, granted, do have an interest in talking this figure up, but for want of a better figure I'll take it for now),"

                I would imagine only if working in London. Even in the South East (where I live), £44k is "senior programmer" territory - most adverts for programmers (requiring a degree) are in the £25-40k range. There are some outliers in the £40-60k range, but those are /rare/.

                Sorry, but those numbers done bare relation to observed reality for me.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

          In other words, you don't understand how progressive taxation works.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

            Leave us not forget that, at least in Amurka, the free money earned through capital gains is taxed at a lower rate than wages/salary earned in certain income brackets (Bush the Younger's gift to his base, IIRC). This must be the "dignity of labour" that Certain Politicians bang on about when discussing food stamps, rent subsidies, and other assistance for low-income people.

          2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

            What an eloquent reply. Let me lower myself to your level and say that progressive taxation is supported by people who don't understand maths and big corporations who don't want their workers to amass capital and at the same time they can say maybe we don't pay taxes, but look how much our workers pay! (as a way to pressure politicians to get HRMC off their backs)

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

      "is this an open invitation to steal stuff and bring it to Moscow ?"

      Yes. They are getting tired of companies no longer selling to them, so they've given up on trying to convince them to change their minds. It won't help much; they already had piracy, and all the problems it had remain.

    3. Professor_Iron

      Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

      Back in the days of the Cold War the Western countries imposed similar tech embargo on the Soviet Union known as CoCom, meaning you couldn't export stuff such as a Commodore 64 beyond the Iron Curtain. But with many technologies the embargo was two-sided on an ideaological basis. The communist party deemed it evil to use gadgets made by the capitalist pigs, thus even if you somehow managed to smuggle a computer across the border without the Western customs noticing, the local police could still confiscate it from you.

      Trade control details are a bit complicated, but the message they want to send with this rule is something like this: You don't have to be afraid of suffering any repercussions from the Russian state if you keep using Western tech, it's only the West that forbids you from doing so simply because you are a Russian, so you should be mad at them, not us.

      That alone doesn't mean that Russia would encourage theft, it's up to you how you acquire the products as long as the theft itself doesn't take place on Russian soil. Though basically all of the post-Soviet states on the Russian borders are known to be cooperating in creative ways. For example after the first wave of credit card bans by Mastercard and VISA, people flocked to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan by the thousands to open a local bank account and get a new card with it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

        "as long as the theft itself doesn't take place on Russian soil"

        I suppose that would be breaking the cronies' monopoly.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

        the local police could still confiscate it from you.

        Code word "could". It just means you had to pay for them to not confiscate and whether they already had such computer at home.

      3. willyslick

        Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

        With respect to the CoCom embargo - while they might have confiscated illegally imported technology from average citizens, the Russian government had an active program to reverse-engineer western technology, for which they needed such computers. Some excellent functioning copies were in fact made, but they were never able to develop the production facilities and produce any volume.

        One could argue that CoCom was in fact an effective contributor to the fall of the iron curtain - but things have changed a lot since then and the leverage the west has to sabotage the Russian economy through technology embargos is certainly vastly diminished as in the meantime its so easily attainable most everywhere.

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: "legalized the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder"

      How does that work exactly ? You still have to buy the product, right ? Or is this an open invitation to steal stuff and bring it to Moscow ?

      Depends on your PoV I guess. But sounds like it's an attempt to legalise 'grey' imports to bypass sanctions. So something the USSR did, and countries like N.Korea and Iran do. Cisco can't/won't sell tin in Iran, but you can buy Cisco tin in Iran.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge
  3. UCAP Silver badge

    Pointless fines

    The fines are completely pointless; I cannot see Airbnb, Twitch, UPS, or Pinterest coughing up a single rouble or even bothering to acknowledge that they have been imposed. This is the sort of political grandstanding you see when a country (or in this case, a Putin) is completely powerless to impose their will on other organisations.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Pointless fines

      I've banned Putin from my treehouse

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Pointless fines

      Not pointless. The fines don't get paid so next they can declare the firms to be operating illegally and in contempt of court.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Pointless fines

        If they're not operating there there doesn't seem to be much point in that.

        Of course any Russian citizens using their facilities will be aiding and abetting or whatever similar consept Russian law might have.

    3. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Pointless fines

      These fines amount to rounding errors on these tech companies accounts, it would like being given a £1 speeding fine, you would just thrown a fiver on the table and tell them to keep the change.

      But maybe things are so bad in Russia right now that even $20K seems like a lot to the Russian judges.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Amusingly small.

    Even if these fines were paid, they're paultry sums that wouldn't even cover the lawyer fees.

    If they're trying to send a message, it's about as effective as a strongly worded letter to the local council. It's not even worth the cost of the stamp, letter and council worker to read and ignore it.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Terrorist state

    Why do they do business with a terrorist state?

    No sympathy here.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Terrorist state

      Plenty of places could arguably fit that "terrorist" definition that companies happily do business with,

      e.g. ask many a Tibetan or Uyghur about China and you will not get a happy response.

      Lots of big companies will have rainbow flags here, there & everywhere yet happily trade with various oil rich states that treat gays (and women, whatever orientation) horrendously.

      Corporatism & hypocrisy go together frequently

      Though, there are counter arguments for why a presence may be retained, in this example, many Russians are against the war, but suffering the consequences so they suffer for something that is not their fault when companies pull out

      Aside - as a UK person I'm happy to see Putin make such an effort to financially destroy "his" country, as by comparison it makes the UKs self inflicted (though lots of suggestions some prime movers in Brexit not exactly unfamiliar with receiving Russian cash / other help) economy destroying efforts not look quite as bad.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Terrorist state

        many Russians are against the war, but suffering the consequences so they suffer for something that is not their fault when companies pull out

        Oh you had to sneak in some Russian propaganda. Their bots bring this up time and time again hoping that naive Westerners will pressure their governments so the sanctions will be lifted.

        I am sorry, but I can't see many Russians against the war, in fact it is quite the opposite.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Trollface

          So you can see Russians ?

          You wouldn't be related to Sarah Palin by any chance ?

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Terrorist state

          I have a Russian online only friend (we "met" via online gaming his IGN even included a reference to Navalny so a big hint as to his views) who is massively anti Putin (and from what he says, his friends & family are).

          Worth noting a lot of Russians will only get "state news" and so may well fall for the Putin propaganda, arguably they are victims too, my gamer friend is very fortunate that his job gives him access to external news sources - obviously he is very much in the minority as Russia currently trying their best to keep external news away from the general public so they can keep their propaganda machine running smoothly.

          So, one Russian contact that I speak to often is statistically insignificant, but better than zero contacts and does let me know some people are anti war (He has also previously posted photos of anti war protests in Russia - the protesters were not treated well and such protests have declined due to peoples fear of state retaliation).

          .. So don't regard me as a Russian stooge, I'm just someone able to recognise nuanced situations and regard the general public of what is essentially a de facto fascist dictatorship (not much Marxism in Putin's behaviour) as deserving of some sympathy. In the same way I have some sympathy for UK Brexit voters (though not all were duped by buses or whatever, some hoped for a Brexit where we could still trade on sensible terms but some were just irredeemable racist scum & lapped up the racism tinged propaganda some people & outlets produced) as the UK media has been overwhelmingly anti EU for years and years & sadly lots of people just accept things that get repeated often without seriously questioning it.

        3. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Terrorist state

          "I am sorry, but I can't see many Russians against the war, in fact it is quite the opposite."

          Have you been running surveys? I'll say up front that I hate what the Russian government is doing, and I don't want any country to let up on them until all the people who aided this invasion are testing their defense tactics in war crime trials. However, I know many Russian people who agree with me on that. Most of the ones I know aren't located in Russia anymore, because I'm not from there and don't know many people living there, but I also know some who are still located in Russia because it's not easy to leave for another country if you don't have a lot of money.

          Just because there are Russians who don't agree doesn't mean we refrain from actions that harm Russia as a country, but it's still useful to understand that they exist. These are possible allies, so it's helpful to ensure they keep receiving correct information and that, when we can, we target those doing the actions and not those opposing them.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pirate

    Putin on the fritz

    Cheap gear!

    Moscow flea market, ask for Dodgy Vlad.

  7. Surrey Veteran

    VAX: When You Care Enough to Steal the Very Best

    All these bring me back to the days when the old Soviet Union used to manufacture clones of popular Western systems such as Vax or IBM.

    What will be interesting, if Rusia is going to “import products without the maker authorisation” they opened themselves to import dodgy copies whit lots of security holes, will be fun for sure and I will stay away of any electric plant just in case.

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