The Russian government has recently warned Google that it must remove illegal contents within 24 hours or face a fine. The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media of Russia, also known as Roskomnadzor, has issued the order, Reuters reports.
According to Roskomnadzor, over 26,000 “illegal” content must be removed from the Google search results in Russia. If Google refuses to accept the order, it must pay a fine. The possible fine is between 800,000 roubles and 4 million roubles, equal to $10,800 and $54,000.
If another time Google disobeys orders from Russian authorities to remove illegal content, it must pay a fine equal to 10% of its annual income. Reducing the speed of access to Google services in Russia is another penalty imposed by Roskomnadzor.
The Roskomnadzor says the contents they requested to be banned contain information about drugs or violence or extremist organizations create them. Google’s office in Russia hasn’t still responded to the claims.
Removing banned content from search results is not the only dispute between Google and Russian officials. The Roskomnadzor says that Google intentionally censors the contents published by Russian-backed media like RT and Sputnik on YouTube.
“This censorship of Russian media and the targeted support for illegal protest activity actually speak to the political colouring of Google’s activities in Russia,” Roskomnadzor noted.
Russia is forcing Google to censor anti-government content
The Russian government and its affiliates have repeatedly forced technology companies operating in the country to censor and remove anti-government content. A Russian court, for example, recently asked Google to remove 12 YouTube videos related to the protests in the country. Russian officials say the videos encouraged minors to join the protests.
The most famous opposition of the Russian government, Alexei Navalny, uses YouTube to communicate with his fans. His channel has over 6.5 million subscribers.
Another Google lawsuit in Russia is related to blocking a Christian Orthodox news channel on YouTube. The channel is owned by a supporter of Vladimir Putin, who is also under US and EU sanctions.
The Russian government has previously threatened Twitter to slow down its services in the country. Twitter has refused to remove illegal contents in Russia.