Департамент РОССИИ И СТРАН СНГ
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Russia: Business activity on the Internet network curried out by foreign operators

On May 21, 2021, the draft federal law No. 1176731-7 “On the performance by foreign subjects of the activity in “Internet” network on the territory of the Russian Federation” was filed to the State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation).

Under the above draft law a foreign person carries out the activity on Internet on the territory of the Russian Federation when that person is the owner of an Internet site and/or a web page and/or an information system and/or a program for devices electronic computing, which are visited within 24 hours by more than 500,000 users located on the territory of the Russian Federation in the presence of one of the following requirements:

  • Internet site, page, etc. share or contains information in the Russian language or in the official language of the republics belonging to the Russian Federation or in the other languages ​​of the nationalities of the Russian Federation;
  • Internet site, page, etc., share advertising aimed at consumers on the territory of the Russian Federation;
  • foreign person receives the payments from Russian natural and legal persons.

The hosting provider, operators of advertising systems and organizers for the sharing of information on the Internet will also be recognized as the foreign entity that carries out activities on the Internet on the Russian territory.

In order to identify foreign subjects with aforementioned requirements, a special procedure will be approved by the Government of the Russian Federation which will be applied for control purposes by the Federal Service for supervision in the sphere of connection and mass communication (Roskomnadzor).

Foreign subjects may carry out the activity in the Internet network in the Russian Federation only through a branch or a representative office or a company established under Russian law which must represent the interests of the main company and be the main interlocutor with Russian regulatory bodies on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Among the obligations of the branch and representative office of the foreign entity that carries out the activity on the Internet network on the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as the Russian subsidiary of the latter one, there are:

  • collection and examination of the requests of Russian citizens, execution of judgments of the courts, resolutions (requests) of the state bodies of the Russian Federation that have been adopted against the foreign subjects;
  • representation of the main company in court;
  • adoption of measures on the territory of the Russian Federation aimed at limiting access to information and / or elimination of information shared on the information resource of the foreign subject in violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In order to induce compliance with Russian legislation on the matter, the draft law provides for additional measures such as:

  • communication to the users of the facts of violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation;
  • ban on advertising the foreign subject and / or the information resource of the latter;
  • prohibition to share advertising on the information resource of the foreign subject;
  • limitation of payments and receiving of payments from natural or legal persons;
  • prohibition of the indication in the search results of information on the information resource of the foreign subject;
  • prohibition on the cross-border transmission of personal data;
  • partial or total limitation of access to the information resource of the foreign subject.

It is envisaged that the decision on the measures to be applied will be taken directly by Roskomnadzor without the need for prior obtaining a court decision.

The draft law in question is mostly addressed to such hi-tech giants as Facebook, Twitter, Google who currently do not have the representative offices / branches / companies that fully represent them in the Russian Federation. However, it cannot be excluded that this law may also involve e-commerce companies.

 

Rome, 27 May, 2021 

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