13 Sep 2019 15:14

Google pays 700,000-ruble fine for failure to filter search results

MOSCOW. Sept 13 (Interfax) - Google has paid a 700,000-ruble fine imposed by Roskomnadzor for failure to filter search results consistent with the register of websites prohibited in Russia, the regulator told Interfax in a statement on Friday.

"Google has paid a 700,000-ruble fine for failure to fulfill its duty and stop providing information about websites restricted in Russia in search results," the regulator said.

Roskomnadzor has uncovered selective filtering of Google search results, which means over a third of links listed in the unified register of prohibited content are still available.

The law has been explained to Google many times, the regulator said.

Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov told the press at the Eastern Economic Forum in early September that Google was due to pay the fine before September 30. He also said that Google had been filtering about 70% of prohibited content. "Parameters are practically the same: they remove about 70% of websites listed in the unified register of prohibited content. The amount is almost unchanged," Zharov said.

As to whether Google planned to fully comply with the filtering requirement, Zharov said his agency "was engaged in an administrative procedure, and it would be wrong to begin any talks until the procedure comes to an end."

On November 26 last year, Roskomnadzor sued Google for refusing to comply with a law which requires it to connect to the Federal State Information System (FSIS). The company was fined 500,000 rubles on December 11.

Then it emerged in February of this year that Google had deleted over 70% of the URLS linking to illegal content from its search results. A couple months later in April, Zharov said that the company was deleting 80% of such links, and expressed confidence that the rate would eventually increase to 100 percent.

However, on June 7, Zharov told Interfax that Google's filtration had dropped to 67.5% during the month of May. Zharov later said he hoped the company would still comply with the law and would not have to be fined.

But on July 18, Roskomnadzor imposed another fine on Google, this time in the amount of 700,000 rubles, for its refusal to filter search results in accordance with the Russian register of prohibited content.

The law compelling search engines to connect to the FSIS containing the list of prohibited websites (Unified Register of Prohibited Information) came into effect on September 26, 2018. Roskomnadzor duly notified Google, Yandex, Sputnik, and Mail.Ru.

By late October, all but Google had complied.