Russian Search Engines to Block Gambling Listings

Russia’s telecom watchdog has reached preliminary agreement with the country’s search engines on measures to block local residents’ access to banned gambling sites.

This week, the Roskomnadzor agency convened a meeting with the country’s leading search engines, including Yandex, Sputnik and Mail.ru, to ensure that Russian citizens are denied access to the thousands of websites that the watchdog consigns to its ever-expanding blacklist each week.

In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two federal laws: one requiring Russian internet service providers to block all mirror sites of blacklisted domains, and the other putting strict new curbs on Russians’ use of tools to circumvent these restrictions, including anonymizers and virtual private networks (VPN). The laws are set to take effect on October 1 and November 1, respectively.

At this week’s meeting, Roskomnadzor officials spelled out how it expects search engines to scrub online references to banned sites and the circumvention tools. The agency will establish an automated service that alerts search engines to blacklist updates, after which the companies will have 72 hours in which to purge the offender from their search results.

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