World Media

Moscow is warning Google against election ‘interference’

Moscow is warning Google against election ‘interference’

On August 11, Russia's state-run telecom and media watchdog sent a letter to Google calling for measures to prevent "unauthorized mass events" from being advertising on YouTube.

The agency's authorities noted in their letter that failure to take response measures would be recognized as interference in the sovereign internal affairs of the country, hostile actions and hindering a democratic choice in Russian Federation.

Roskomnadzor said Sunday it complained to Google in a letter about unspecified "structures" with YouTube channels using their accounts with the video-sharing site to send push-notifications about unsanctioned gatherings, "including those aimed at damaging federal and regional elections".

Furthermore, Roskomnadzor warned that should Google refuse to take down the videos, the regulator will then conclude that the move is a form of "interference" in Russia's "sovereign affairs".

OVD-Info said 79 people were also detained in St. Petersburg, 13 in Rostov-on-Don, two in Bryansk, and two more in Syktyvkar as "solidarity" rallies attracted smaller crowds there and in other cities. On Sunday, Russia issued an ultimatum to Google: Stop allowing protests to be promoted on YouTube.

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Search engines are required to share encryption keys, as well as the personal data of Russian social media users on servers within the country, with security services. The BBC reports that up to 60,000 disgruntled Russians participated in Saturday's protest, the fifth demonstration in a month.

Moscow has a track record of putting regulatory pressure on Google, one of the main rivals of Russian internet search company Yandex.

Protests erupted after several opposition candidates were controversially rejected from a ballot for an upcoming Moscow council vote.

It wasn't the first time Google's come under pressure from Roscomnadzor - it reportedly tweaked its search results in Russian Federation to remove blacklisted websites earlier this year, after being threatened with fines if it failed to do so.