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Google may be penalized by Russia for failing to censor search results

Google may face more fines as the year comes to an end.

Russia has accused Google of breaching local regulations by failing to remove banned websites from its search results, according to Roskomnadzor, the country’s watchdog, in a post on local Facebook-equivalent VK on Monday.

In the post, the Russian communications regulator said it has opened a civil case against Google over the matter, and will make its decision next month — Roskomnadzor has authority to issue penalties without involving the court, according to local media, and if found guilty, Google faces up to 700,000 rubles (or $10,444) in fines.

Russian laws stipulate that search engine operators such as Google must join a state registry, which lists websites the Kremlin deems to contain illegal information. Google was found not to have joined the registry and is hence noncompliant with the law, said the watchdog.

It’s not the first time foreign tech companies have run into trouble with the Russian government, which threatened to block YouTube and Instagram over content relating to an oligarch who was linked to US president Donald Trump’s 2019 presidential campaign. A much heftier fine hit Google in July — $5 billion — with EU concerns over antitrust violations related to the Android mobile operating system.

 

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