Russia threatens to ban Google if it doesn't ban certain websites

Russian officials have threatened to block Google's access in Russia unless it complies with a law that asks it to ban certain websites.

The Vladimir Putin-led country is putting intense pressure on internet companies to block content it deems harmful after passing a law in September that required search engines to comply with the state registry of banned websites and omit the banned content from search results.

While the registry does contain websites promoting hate speech and self-harm it also includes a plethora of websites blacklisted for explicitly political reasons, such as a Ukrainian news website.


Russian news agencies on Wednesday quoted deputy Communications Oversight Agency chief Vitaly Subbotin as saying that authorities may push for amendments that would let them block search engines like Google if they fail to comply with Russian law.

The news comes as Google is getting heat about potentially launching a search engine in China from U.S. lawmakers, its employees and activist groups who have bemoaned the very same issue that it would censor searches.

Speaking in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday amid allegations of anti-conservative bias and privacy violations on the platform, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had "no plans to launch search in China."

Pichai responded to Congresswoman Jackson Lee's (D.-Tx.) question when she said she was concerned about the company's controversial Project Dragonfly and asked what the company is doing to minimize the efforts.

The Google CEO said: "Right now, we have no plans to launch [a search product] in China," adding that "getting access to information is an important human right."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia