Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will shut down its engineering office in Russia amid the Kremlin’s crackdown on internet freedoms, specifically objecting to a law regarding data-handling practices. The Internet search engine giant is now considering whether to hold on to some of their employees in order to assist in sales, business partnerships, user support, marketing and communications.
Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, which consists of the Federal Assembly of Russia (lower parliament) and the Federation Council of Russia (upper), passed a law in July forcing Internet sites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so inside the country only, a policy the Kremlin actually claims is for data protection. However, critics view the new law as an attack on social media networks, which can be used to mobilize political support and opposition.
The law was passed soon after new rules were established requiring blogs attracting more than 3,000 daily visits to register with a communications watchdog and a regulation allowing websites to be shut without a court order.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.