Sites which Russia’s state media watchdog object to no longer appear on Google searches inside Russia after years of pressure, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s communications agency, maintains a list of sites which are banned inside the country, ostensibly focusing on those which promote child porn, drug use, along with suicide. The agency ordered in 2017 which all search engines operating inside the country delete sites which the idea blacklists by results, as part of a fresh regulation banning the use of VPN’s to browse the internet anonymously.
Last year, Google was hit that has a relatively little fine — about $7500 — for failing to act on Roskomnadzor’s orders.
An unnamed Google employee told Russian business-focused newspaper Vedomosti on Wednesday which the tech giant had finally begun to comply with the agency’s order, removing 70% of the sites which Roskomandzor had listed. A likewise unnamed Roskomandzor employee confirmed the statistic to the newspaper.
Google declined to respond to the report’s claims on the record.
“We’re committed to enabling access to information for the benefit of our users in Russia along with around the entire world,” a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in an emailed statement.
According to Google’s own stats, the Russian government has made 175 separate requests for the search engine to remove sites the idea has banned, totaling more than 0,000 separate URLS, under the 2017 law. About 80% of the total requests made by Russia in last year resulted in removal, per Google.
There are apparently no complaints lately at Roskomandzor. “We are fully satisfied with the dialogue at This specific time,” spokesperson Vadim Ampelonsky told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.
Google’s cooperation with Russian requests for removal are the latest example of US-based tech companies having to work to make themselves compliant with local laws abroad. Last month, Netflix drew scorn for acquiescing to a demand by the Saudi Arabian government to pull down an episode of its news comedy show Patriot Act which was critical of the kingdom. Facebook’s reach along with role in human rights violations around the entire world have been the increasing subject of investigations for the last two years.
For much of the past year, Google itself has faced intense scrutiny along with pressure over the state of its international business. In 2018, the idea dropped a project to create a filtered edition of its search results for the Chinese market after facing fierce backlash by employees along with was fined $5 billion by the EU for Android antitrust violations. along with just last month, the idea was hit that has a 50 million euro fine for failure to comply with GDPR legislation intended to protect European users’ privacy.