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Google pays fines to Russia over banned content

Google pays fines to Russia over banned content

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russia's state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, is reflected in a laptop screen showing Google start page, in this picture illustration taken May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Illustration/File Photo

MOSCOW: United States tech giant Google has paid Russia more than 32 million roubles (US$455,079) in fines for failing to delete content that Moscow deems illegal, the company and a Russian lawmaker said after talks on Monday (Oct 25).

Russia last week said that it would seek to fine Google a percentage of its annual Russian turnover later this month for repeatedly failing to delete banned content on its search engine and YouTube, in Moscow's strongest move yet to rein in foreign tech firms.

Vasily Piskarev, a lawmaker who heads a parliamentary commission to investigate foreign interference in Russia, on Monday said that Google's representatives had expressed a desire to engage in dialogue and the company had paid more than 32 million roubles in outstanding fines, news agencies reported.

Marco Pancini, YouTube director for interacting with state authorities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a blog post that Google had paid all enforced fines on time. These stood at 32.5 million roubles for this year, communications regulator Roskomnadzor said last week.

Roskomnadzor on Monday said that it has the technical capability to slow down the speed of YouTube, Interfax reported, but that administrative measures are currently sufficient.

In 2020, Google's compliance with requests to delete content was 96.2 per cent, Pancini said, and in the first half of this year, it removed more than 489,000 videos, but Russia said that too much banned content still remained available.

Piskarev said last week that this included child pornography. Russia has ordered other foreign tech firms to delete posts promoting drug abuse and dangerous pastimes, information about homemade weapons and explosives, as well as ones by groups it designates as extremist or terrorist.

Around 2,650 pieces of illegal content on Google's Internet resources remained undeleted as of the start of October, the RIA news agency cited Piskarev as saying.

"Work has been carried out, as we see, however it is still very far from ideal," he said.

Piskarev said that Pancini had cited technical difficulties for Google's failure to remove all the banned content.

Source: Reuters/kg

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