Google Enters Negotiations over Fine with Russia’s Telecom Watchdog

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications watchdog, said Wednesday that it had negotiated with Google the settlement of a possible administrative fine caused by the tech giant’s noncompliance with Russian legislation, Vedomosti reports.

Vadim Subotin, deputy head of Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) met with Google’s representative Doron Avni and discussed a wide range of issues on the implementation of provisions of the Russian legislation by Google, the watchdog said in a statement.

“One of the key points of the talks was to discuss the situation around the violation by the company of the requirements of Russian laws to ensure filtering Google search results from information banned in Russia,” it said.

In October, Roskomnadzor said that Google could face a fine varying from 500,000 to 700,000 rubles ($7,600 to $10,600) over its failure to remove links to prohibited resources from search results as requested by the Russian legislation.

Doron Avni, also Google’s Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa Emerging Markets, will present the proposed mechanisms for resolving the situation at Google’s corporate center in California, according to Wednesday’s statement.

Subotin said the company is likely to avoid the fine only if it starts abiding by Russian laws and filtering its search results.

“They (Google) expressed the desire to comply with the Russian legislation,” Subotin was quoted as saying.

In addition, Roskomnadzor also invited Google to join an anti-piracy memorandum signed this month by the largest Russian media holdings and Internet companies.

The memorandum involves the removal of links to illegal content from search results at the request of the copyright holder and corresponds to the mechanisms used by Google, the statement said.