Russian opposition activists said Google had taken down videos and documents they were using to organize a protest vote in this weekend’s elections, the latest sign of rising pressure from the Kremlin on American internet giants.
The actions by Google in response to government demands involved blocking access inside Russia to several YouTube and Google Docs links being used by allies of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny to coordinate protest voting in each of the country’s 225 electoral districts, said the activists, members of Mr. Navalny’s team. On Friday, Google and Apple removed the activist group’s protest-voting app after Russian officials threatened to prosecute the American companies’ employees inside the country.
Google did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment.
Apple, of course, did it too.
It just goes to show that powerful Silicon Valley companies cannot be trusted to stand up for their users against authoritarian governments like those in Russia or China. They fold because the bottom line is more important than people’s rights and freedoms. And because they’re afraid of the power those regimes have over their operations beyond U.S. shores.