Search engines escape Russia’s internet blacklist

Stormtroopers searching

More and more sites are getting blacklisted by Russia’s new hitlist of digital child porn and other supposedly law-breaking content.

But, despite some recent examples, search engines are not supposed to be amongst the list.

Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications¬†(Roskomnadzor) has issued a “clarification” to say Web search, image search, news search, video search and other content cached by search engines like Google, Yandex and Bing should not be included in the recently-launched Zapret web blacklist.

This is despite recent inclusion of Google image search and YouTube, which is put down to a “mistake” (via Roem.ru).

Such a distinction by the Russian government is an important one at a time when Google is facing growing international challenges to its long-held operating model. An Australian court ruled that Google search had been a publisher of material deemed defamatory, while a proposed German law would require Google pay a license to publish excerpts of third-parties’ news articles.

Some campaigners out there, like former Formula One boss Max Mosley, want Google to pro-actively strip out excerpts from “illegal” websites, alleviating complainants’ need to go to dozens of individual end sites to which Google points.¬†But the Russian government’s position seems sensible since it blocks access to illegal material at source, not at the signpost.

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