Russia opens civil cases against Facebook, Twitter

The communication watchdog claims Facebook and Twitter had not explained how and when they would comply with legislation that requires all servers used to store Russians’ personal data to be located in the country. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2019

Russia opens civil cases against Facebook, Twitter

  • Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the past five years
  • Moscow plans to impose stiffer fines on technology firms that fail to comply with Russian laws

MOSCOW: Russia’s communication watchdog said on Monday it was opening administrative proceedings against Twitter and Facebook for failing to explain how they plan to comply with local data laws, the Interfax news agency reported.
Roskomnadzor, the watchdog, was quoted as saying that Twitter and Facebook had not explained how and when they would comply with legislation that requires all servers used to store Russians’ personal data to be located in Russia.
The agency’s head, Alexander Zharov, was quoted as saying the companies have a month to provide information or else action would be taken against them.
Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the past five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.
At the moment, the only tools Russia has to enforce its data rules are fines that typically only come to a few thousand dollars or blocking the offending online services, which is an option fraught with technical difficulties.
However, sources in November said that Moscow plans to impose stiffer fines on technology firms that fail to comply with Russian laws.


Google completes first drone delivery in the US

Updated 19 October 2019

Google completes first drone delivery in the US

  • The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest”
  • Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats

WASHINGTON: Alphabet (Google) subsidiary Wing has become the first company in the United States to deliver packages by drone.
In Christiansburg, the small Virginia town chosen as Wing’s test location, the 22,000 residents can order products normally shipped by FedEx, medicine from Walgreens and a selection of candy from a local business — all of which will arrive via drone.
Wing, which already operates in two Australian cities as well as Helsinki, announced in a statement that the first drone-powered deliveries had taken place Friday afternoon in Christiansburg, “paving the way for the most advanced drone delivery service in the nation.”
One family used the Wing app to order Tylenol, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets, bottled water and tissues, the statement said.
An older resident ordered a birthday present for his wife. Although the majority of the delivery was done by a FedEx truck, the last mile was completed by drone.
The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest,” where Wing employees pack them with up to three pounds (1.3 kilograms) of goods, deliverable within a six mile (10 kilometer) radius.
Once they have arrived at their destination, the drones don’t land. Instead, they hover above the house and lower the package with a cable.
Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats. But Wing was the first to obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), authorizing company pilots to fly multiple drones at the same time.