Google and several leading Russian search engines have completely wiped 786 ‘pirate’ sites from their search results. That’s according to telecoms watch Rozcomnadzor, which reports that the search providers delisted the sites after ISPs were ordered by a Moscow court to permanently block them.
Late July, President Vladimir Putin signed a new law which requires local telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor to maintain a list of banned domains while identifying sites, services, and software that provide access to them.
Rozcomnadzor is required to contact the operators of such services with a request for them to block banned resources. If they do not, then they themselves will become blocked. In addition, search engines are also required to remove blocked resources from their search results, in order to discourage people from accessing them.
Removing entire domains from search results is a controversial practice and something which search providers have long protested against. They argue that it’s not their job to act as censors and in any event, content remains online, whether it’s indexed by search or not.
Nevertheless, on October 1 the new law (“On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”) came into effect and it appears that Russia’s major search engines have been very busy in its wake.