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Google reportedly caves to Russia’s demands and begins censoring search results

GOOGLE HAS REPORTEDLY started to censor search results in Russia, clearly shaken by the, er, £8,100 fine faces if it fails to comply with the Kremlin’s demands.

Since 2017, the Russian government has required search engines in the country to delete sites banned by its Roskomnadzor agency, which includes pages related to child pornography, drugs, suicide and piracy. However, the watchdog also has a history of banning popular websites, including the likes of Wikipedia and Pornhub.  

While Google has long ignored requests from Russia’s Roskomnadzor to censor its search engine in accordance with local laws, which has seen it fined £5,800 and even threatened with a ban in the country, an unnamed Google staffer told Russian newspaper Vedomosti this week that the firm has begun to comply with the agency’s order.

The employee says Google has removed 70 per cent of the sites that Roskomandzor had listed, and an equally-anonymous Roskomandzor employee confirmed the statistic to the newspaper.

According to a transparency report updated by Google in October, Russia has made 175 requests for the company to remove banned sites. 

Vedomosti writes that Google has reached an agreement with the Roskomnadzor which will see watchdog send it updates on the list of banned sources on a daily basis. The source added that Google looks into the reasons given for each site’s inclusion on the list before deciding whether to remove it from search results.

“We’re committed to enabling access to information for the benefit of our users in Russia and around the world,” a Google spokesman said in a statement, refusing to comment specifically about the Russian news report.  

A Roskomandzor spokesperson added: “We are fully satisfied with the dialogue at this time,” in a statement given to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday. µ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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