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Russia fines Google for failing to remove links to banned websites

Google (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has fined Google for failing to filter traffic in accordance with strict Russian Internet laws.

Roskomnadzor said on July 18 that it fined Google 700,000 rubles ($11,000) for not complying with the laws.

According to the agency, the U.S.-based tech giant failed to censor content blacklisted by Roskomnadzor — a violation of a law introduced in July 2018 that requires online search engines to purge any hyperlinks to materials that are banned in Russia.

Google has refused to connect to the federal information system where such websites are listed.

Roskomnadzor, which informed Google about its intention to impose the fine in May for noncompliance with the law, said Google still allows access to one-third of the websites listed on Russia’s register of banned websites.

It is the second fine Google has faced in Russia since the law was introduced.

Earlier in December, Russia fined Google 500,000 rubles ($7,900) for failing to comply with the law.

Moscow has introduced tougher Internet laws after Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia in 2014 over its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The laws require search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store personal information about Russian users on servers within Russia.