Russian Parliament Approves “Right To Be Forgotten” In Search Engines

Yandex logo en svg Following suit from the EU, Russia parliament has approved a broader version of “Right To Be Forgotten” law that gives people the right to request removal of information from search engines that’s deemed outdated, irrelevant or untrustworthy.  The only blockade stopping this from going through into law is President Vladimir Putin.  If he signs it, it’ll become law in 2016.

There have been those who have criticized the law, feeling that it’s being too sweeping, especially compared to the original EU’s version of Right To Be Forgotten.  Even the original law has been met with its own criticism.  According to the Russian law, the actual link won’t be required to be identified for removal, but people will be able to object to content in general and ask search engines to somehow remove all of it.  Another part of the law also gives the ability for people to only remove links in search engines, and not from hosting websites.

In an  explaintion by Deutsche Welle, the law will require the removal of any content that is deemed “untrustworthy” or is “in violation of the law” or that is “no longer relevant.”  There was a provision that was dropped that potentially meant that any information older than three years, regardless of accuracy, was dropped.

It seems that not only is there some criticism from people to this new law, along with the original EU law, but even Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine had previously objected to the law.  Despite changes, Yandex was quoted by AFP as having major issues with the law:

“Our attempts to introduce some crucial amendments to this bill have unfortunately been unsuccessful,” Yandex said in a statement.

“Our point has always been that a search engine cannot take on the role of a regulatory body and act as a court or law enforcement agency,” it said.

“We believe that information control should not limit access to information that serves the public interest. The private interest and the public interest should exist in balance,” the firm said.

As of this point, there doesn’t seem to be any statements by Google.  If this law is signed and passed, it isn’t clear if the law will demand a worldwide removal for all people, or just within the Russian borders.

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