According to Reuters, Russia has initiated a civil action against Google over the search engine’s alleged failure to censor search results in the country. The potential penalty is trivial: 700,000 roubles (approximately $10,450).

Next month, a determination will be made on whether or not the fine will be imposed.  The main issue is that Google reportedly didn’t adhere to a registry of banned websites.  Yandex, the Russian search site, apparently continues to feature some of these “illegal” sites.

When compared to Chine, which demands quite a few concessions and generally gains them, Russia is in a weak position.  According to the report, “the only tools Russia has to enforce its data rules are fines that typically only come to a few thousand dollars, or blocking the offending online services, which is an option fraught with technical difficulties.”

It would seem that the Russian authorities are planning to change the law to impose more significant financial penalties on firms that fail to comply with its laws.  These proposed increases would allow for fines of up to 1 percent of global revenues.  For Google, this would equate to $1 billion.

There are a number of countries, including China, Russia, India and the members of the European Union have sought to regulate search results in one form or another. Most of the time this is limited to the domestic market. But in others, (such as the Right to Be Forgotten) there are global implications.

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