Roskomnadzor is a regulating body in Russia, and on Monday, it gave search giant Google only 24 hours to remove prohibited content or face sanctions within the country. According to the regulator, the sanctions would be levied against Google for what it called “insufficient filtering.” Among the sanctions that Google potentially faces are the slowdown of its online traffic within Russia and possible monetary fines.
Russia has previously hit Twitter with a fine for not removing content that was banned within the country. Russia continues to attempt to exert more control over social networks from Western parts of the world in an attempt to improve what it calls its Internet sovereignty. Roskomnadzor threaten the actions against Google because it says the search giant has not fulfilled obligations to exclude search results with links to what the regulator calls “Internet resources and information prohibited in our country.”
The regulator says among the resources it wants banned are “sites of terrorist and extremist organizations, sites with pornographic images of minors, and online stores selling drugs.” The regular says Google has not removed between 20 and 30 percent of links to banned sites. Another case was filed in Russian courts against Google for what the regulator calls “repeated failure to comply with this obligation.”
Roskomnadzor has threatened Google with a fine of between 800,000 rubles and 4 million rubles, which is only about $10,800-$54,000 if it doesn’t comply within 24 hours. We’ve seen Google not flinch at much, much higher fines in the past. However, the traffic slowdowns that the regulating agency is threatening Google could pose a more serious problem to its operations in Russia.
Roskomnadzor is also threatened that a repeat offense could be punishable by a fine of up to 10 percent of Google’s total annual revenue. Google reported revenue of $181.69 billion for fiscal 2020. A penalty of 10 percent would amount to somewhere in the area of $18 billion, which might get Google’s attention.