Google to Leave Russia

Google is pulling out of Russia, The Information reported.

In July, the Russian parliament passed a bill decreeing that as of September 2016, foreign Internet companies can only store Russian users’ data within the country’s borders. As a result of a recent change, bumping the date up to this coming January 1, Google will close down its engineering office, following other tech companies such as Adobe, which left the country in September.

Russia says the new law is in the best interest of its citizens, protecting them from foreign spies, though critics believe it’s a power move designed to restrict information, given the impossibility of spontaneously constructing a data storage facility. “We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers, and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them,” Google said in a statement, adding that its other operations would remain in Russia.

This is the third issue Google has had in Europe lately in as many weeks. The European parliament moved to have Google broken up into separate companies, combating its dominance, and earlier this week, the search juggernaut announced its dissociation with Spain.

A January copyright law will require every Spanish publication to charge outside services, such as Google News, a fee for showing any content from their publications, including headlines.

David Castellon, managing partner at Spanish agency UNO Digital, doesn’t think this should be mandatory. While he sees the interest in protecting the asset that is content, he believes his government is going about doing so in the wrong way.

“According to this law, Google would be a content provider that leverages the work of others. From our point of view, Google News, or any other aggregator, is a traffic-distribution mechanism that adds value to the user legitimately,” Castellon says, adding that the law “ends in a loss of value on both sides of the table.” 

Germany attempted to block Google in a similar manner last month, though only briefly, as a result of the plunge in traffic on the top German news publisher’s websites.

Google announced in a blog post that the service will be disabled and Spanish publishers will be removed from Google News on Tuesday.

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