Google slams Russia engineering office doors shut


Google Google is reportedly closing the doors of its engineering office in Russia after a string of changes in legislation now force tech firms to keep the data of Russian citizens in the country.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm has not given an official reason for the closure, but as reported by the Financial Times, it is likely that data protection laws in Russia are tightening the noose for tech firms -- causing some to collect their bag and steal away in the middle of the night, while Russian entrepreneurs and engineers may follow suit.

The engineering office in question employs approximately 50 engineers in Moscow. Each member of staff will have the option of moving with Google elsewhere, according to The Information.

Russia, alongside China, is known for stringent censorship laws designed to control the Internet activity of the general public and corporations. The latest set of new laws passed by governors requires tech firms to store data related to Russian citizens locally, something Google may not be willing to tolerate -- and can evade by removing itself from the country.

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In a statement, Google said:

"We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them."

The country's new laws were pushed through in response to revelations pertaining to the US National Security Agency (NSA). Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released hundreds of confidential documents to the media over the past year which documented widespread and uncontrolled bulk data collection and spying upon not only the US general public, but other nations.

The media storm caused not only a headache for the US intelligence agency, but has prompted fresh political strain between the United States and countries including Russia and China.

If Google does close its Russian engineering operations, the company will be joining Adobe Systems, which reportedly closed down its Russian offices earlier this year.

Read on: In the enterprise