Internet privacy bill receives initial approval in Russia

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By Larry Banks

On Tuesday, the Russian parliament gave its initial approval to a controversial law that would force Internet search companies to remove outdated or irrelevant personal information from search results, when requested by users.

The bill was passed by the State Duma lower house on the first reading, and seeks to emulate European rules on the so-called “right to be forgotten”, which state that search engines must remove certain results that appear under a search of someone’s name.

Russian parliament passes Internet privacy bill

The Internet privacy bill has sparked debate over censorship in Russia, as web companies have to make a call on individual cases, and must carefully balance rights of personal privacy against freedom of information.

The largest search engine in Russia is Yandex, which says it does not want to decide whether information is unreliable, and also says the law could be misused as users don’t need to provide a court order, evidence or indeed justification.

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“The limitations introduced by this bill reflect an imbalance between private and public interests. This bill impedes people’s access to important and reliable information, or makes it impossible to obtain such information”, said Yandex.

Unlike the European bill, the Russian Internet privacy bill would force search engines to erase information about someone even when it’s in the public interest. Failure to comply with the laws will result in fines.

So far, Google in Russia has not commented on the new bill.

SOURCE: Reuters

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