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Google and VPN services could be fined $77k by Russia

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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.

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.

Via Interfax (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.