As Russia looks to tighten its grip on the content its citizens can access online, a new bill could affect how Google and other search engines, VPN services and web resources operate in the country.
Just as China's Great Firewall does, Russia too blocks access to prohibited content and the Russian search engine Yandex often omits certain search results from being seen by the country's users.
However, Google has only recently started to do so and Russian consumers are growing increasingly aware of the fact that they can skirt the country's censorship by using a VPN.
This is why a group of Duma deputies from Russia's lower house have proposed a bill which would impose fines of up to $77k on foreign services that further refuse to filter prohibited content in the country.
- What Russia will really test if it ‘unplugs’ from the internet
- Russia will block nine VPN providers imminently
- Russia blocks ProtonMail
Comply or be fined
Back in March, the Kremlin's communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, sent out letters to popular VPN providers informing them that their services would soon be blocked in Russia unless they complied with local laws. While most of the VPN services have refused to connect their services to the Federal State Information System (FGIS), only Kaspersky Secure Connection (opens in new tab) complied with the government's requests.
An anonymous source provided further details on the proposed bill to the Russian news site Interfax (opens in new tab), saying:
"This bill will be an efficient mechanism of influence. It may affect such resources as Google and VPN services in the case of repeat refusal to filter.”
The bill has yet to be signed into law but if it is, it could lead to more foreign tech companies pulling out of Russia over ethical concerns.
- Also check out the best VPN
Via Interfax (opens in new tab)