BULBOUS BUILDING REPOSITORY Russia has fined Google the princely sum of 500,000 roubles ($7,532) for failing to censor its search engine in accordance with local laws.
The state news agency TASS has confirmed that Roscomnadzor, the Russian equivalent of Ofcom, had been successful in its challenge against Google, with the search giant still failing to subscribe to the State lists of sites that are believed to contain illegal data, and therefore should be suppressed.
Roscomnadzor has also warned that another case could follow if Google doesn't start censoring. Not that this is the first time Google has fallen foul of Russia anyway.
Thing is, as we've reported before, this fine represents about three seconds of Google's revenue, and so there's very little for them to justify the wider fallout of censoring search results.
Doing so would raise questions on Google's behaviour in the rest of the world, and that has much bigger financial ramifications than simply annoying Putin's cronies, in a country which would much rather you were using the Russian-facing Yandex anyway.
The 500,000 roubles isn't even the maximum fine (700,000 roubles) that could have been handed down, suggesting that Moscow is holding back, almost expecting Google to fail to comply.
Other websites and services are caught in Russia's crosshairs too, after the law was tightened insisting that all data generated in Russia would be kept in Russia, implying the possibility of backdoors.
Certainly, the government expects to be provided with encryption keys so it can snoop if it needs to.
Telegram, Signal and WhatsApp are particular bugbears, with their end-to-end encryption, with Telegram currently banned for refusing to comply.
Google's Sundar Pichai spent yesterday explaining to US Congress why the company definitely didn't fiddle with search results. Now, less than a day later, Russia is fining them for failing to do exactly that. Funny old world, isn't it?
Google has declined to comment on the case. μ
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