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Russia, after protests, tells Google not to advertise "illegal" events

Russia, after protests, tells Google not to advertise

Roskomnadzor said it complained to Google about unspecified "structures" allegedly using tools, such as push notifications, to spread information about illegal mass protests, "including those aimed at disrupting elections". Multiple YouTube channels broadcast the event live.

If the search giant doesn't respond to Roscomnadzor's letter, "the Russian Federation will regard this as interference in the sovereign affairs of the state, as well as a hostile influence and obstructing the holding of democratic elections", the watchdog said in a release, without specifying what action it would take.

The letter was sent by Roskomnadzor amid a wave of protests in Moscow, which have been ongoing since mid-summer.

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The city authorities insist that the registration was denied due to the candidates' failure to comply with the set procedures. More than 200 people were reported arrested Saturday after some rally participants moved the protest from its sanctioned spot into the heart of the Russian capital. If such a permit is not given, a rally is viewed as illegal. But as Al Jazeera noted, the protest, which apparently directed the agency's ire towards Google (with organisers claiming some streams reached 50,000 people or more), was approved by the Russian government.

Over the past five years, Russia has introduced tougher laws requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users' personal data on servers within the country.

Russia's internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has warned Google, and its subsidiary Youtube, to stop allowing advertising for civil unrest in Moscow over upcoming, rigged municipal elections, or to face consequences. That year Google also removed YouTube videos uploaded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, though the government's official rationale was that the videos violated laws prohibiting campaigning in the day before an election.



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