What a story Russia gave Google 24 hours to delete content

The Russian Communications Monitoring Authority gave Google 24 hours to delete or fine what it described as the prohibited content, and said: Moscow may slow down the company’s traffic in the country.

Russia imposed this punitive solution on the American social network, Twitter, for not removing the banned content, as part of Moscow’s attempt to rein in the Western technology giants and strengthen what it calls its sovereignty over the Internet.

The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said it had sent more than 26,000 requests to Google to remove illegal information, including videos containing information on drugs or violence, as well as materials from extremist organizations.

Roskomnadzor said Google is being fined between 800,000 rubles and 4 million rubles (10,800 to 54,000 dollars) if you do not restrict access to the restricted information.

She added that repetition of the violation is punishable by a fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s total annual revenue.

Roskomnadzor also accused Google of imposing censorship that restricted access of Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, via YouTube.

“This censorship of Russian media and targeted support for illegal protest activities actually speaks to the political discoloration of Google’s activities in Russia,” Roskomnadzor said.

Last week, Google’s Russian arm filed an appeal against a Moscow court order requiring it to unblock the YouTube account of a news channel owned by a Russian businessman who is under financial sanctions from the United States and the European Union.

Moscow court documents also showed that Google is suing Roskomnadzor over its demands to remove the banned content.

Roskomnadzor said the lawsuit related to 12 YouTube links for illegal content that included encouraging minors to join unauthorized protests in January, when people across Russia took to the streets in support of imprisoned critic Alexei Navalny.

Navalny and his allies used YouTube extensively to spread information about the graft against senior Russian officials and to organize their opposition activities.

The YouTube channel of the strong critic of President Vladimir Putin has 6.5 million subscribers.

Google filed its lawsuit on April 23, as documents from the Moscow Arbitration Court showed, but it was only accepted on May 11 after settling some administrative cases, and a hearing is scheduled for July 14.