Just when you thought it was safe to head back to St. Petersburg Square, hop on your phone, and Google a bunch of Russian websites, everything is getting locked down faster than a Russian bear in track shoes. The great internet search giant, Google, has been put on notice with a civil suit, that Russia will be fining the company up to 700,000 roubles ($10,450) for listing banned websites not approved by the government.
On Monday, Reuters reported that Google has breached the law that Russia has implemented for sites to join state-supervised registries in order for a stronger government-patrolled internet.
Over the past five years, Russia has introduced tougher internet laws that require search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.
Russia’s attention towards the technology sector follows in line with the crackdown the country is following in order to gain a better hold on the web use. The big bear-riding fake news scapegoat himself, President Vladimir Putin, has legislation in the works that will bring down a bigger fine on companies that don’t comply with Mother Russia’s internet regulations.
The legislation, if it goes ahead, would hit global tech giants such as Facebook (FB.O) and Google, which – if found to have breached rules – could face fines equal to 1 percent of their annual revenue in Russia, according to the sources.
With Russia claiming that Google is promoting “banned” or “illegal” information through its uncurated searches and all of the alleged scandals taking place, this has all of the makings for a true struggle for web control. While it may be more serious than just banning a few cat videos and access to Baby Shark, the fines call into the question who exactly has say over what can and can’t be seen.