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Google ordered to filter search results in Russia, but will it do so?

Google has been fined for failing to abide by a Russian censorship law, but the figure is merely a drop in the ocean.

Published onJanuary 17, 2019

The Google logo on the search page.

Russia’s communications authority has reportedly demanded that Google route its citizens’ searches through a government-approved filtering system.

According to Sky News and Russia’s Interfax agency, the authority has issued repeated requests to filter Google searches in the country. The demands come after Russia passed a new law last year, which requires search engines to censor their results by connecting to a government filtering system.

Google reportedly received a 500,000-ruble (~$7,512) fine back in December for failing to connect to this system. A government spokesperson told Interfax that continued violations could lead to a maximum fine of 700,000 rubles (~$10,521).

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The Google logo on a building.

It’s highly unlikely Google will feel the pinch of these fines, as the Alphabet parent company reported worldwide revenue of $110 billion in 2017. Nevertheless, it’s believed Russia could consider blocking Google in the country if the search giant conducts “malicious non-fulfillment” of the filtering law.

SearchEngineLand notes Bing has also been issued with demands to filter results, but it’s unclear whether Microsoft has decided to comply. The most popular search engine in Russia (Yandex) has already conformed to the censorship law though.

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