Russia Files Official Case Against Google For Not Complying With Search Rules

Russian state officials on Monday filed paperwork accusing Google of not removing certain search results to websites banned in the country.

If found guilty, the civil case against Google could cost the company up to 700,000 roubles, or about $10,450, according to Reuters, citing the country's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor.

"Under Russian law, search engine operators are obliged to exclude links to resources with illegal information from the results of search results," according to Roskomnadzor's blog post. "To do this, they must connect to the federal state information system containing a list of prohibited Internet resources."

The act of not complying with Russia’s legal requirements breaks the country’s laws. In a English translated statement, Roskomnadzor explains that Google had not linked to a database of banned sources for Russia, which means it has not complied with the country’s rules.

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Reuters also reported that the Russian government continues to consider higher fines, such as mandating a fine of up to 1% of the company’s annual revenue for failing to comply.

In the past few years, Russia has introduced internet laws that “require search engines to delete the results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian user personal data on servers within the country.”

The proposal would amend the county’s current legislation. If passed, the proposed 1% fine would affect companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Bing.

As Reuters notes, the 1% fine could lead to substantial revenue for Russia, although Google’s revenue in the country is relatively small compared with the U.S. Google’s Russian subsidiary generated 45.2 billion roubles -- or about $687 million -- in 2017, according to the SPARK database, which aggregates data from business registries.

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