On 13 July 2015 the President of the Russian Federation signed Federal Law No. 264–FZ “On Amendments to Federal Law on Information, Information Technology and Protection of Information” and to Articles 29 and 402 of the Russian Civil Procedure Code” ( “the Law”), which will enable individuals to request that Internet search engines delete links to websites containing certain information about such individuals. The Law will come into force on 1 January 2016.
The Law uses the term “search engine operator”, which distributes advertisements via the Internet addressed to the consumers located in the territory of the Russian Federation (the “Search Engine Operator”). Thus the Law can be interpreted as applying to such search engines as Google, Yandex, Rambler, etc.
Upon an individual’s request the Search Engine Operator must remove web links, enabling access to information pertaining to such individual, from search results. More specifically, the Law refers to information which is:
- disseminated in contravention of the Russian law, incorrect; or
- obsolete and no longer relevant for that individual due to subsequent events or his actions.
The Law does not elaborate on what qualifies as, or what are the criteria for, obsolete and irrelevant information. This may be subject to judicial interpretation. The Law will not apply to information concerning allegations of crime in respect of or criminal records of such individual, subject to certain time limitations.
To exercise the “right to be forgotten” an individual must file a request with the Search Engine Operator along with his identity details, web links in question and grounds to remove such web links from search results..
Within 10 working days from receipt of such request the Search Engine Operator must either satisfy or reject the request. If an individual disagrees with the rejection he may appeal to the court. Such a claim will be considered in accordance with the Russian civil procedure legislation.
Currently there is no specific liability provided to be imposed on the Search Engine Operator for ignoring or rejecting an individual’s request. However, the recent draft law under No. 804140-6 “On Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (with regard to the introduction of administrative liability of search system operators)” proposes to introduce such liability for:
- failure to satisfy an individual’s request – 100,000 Rubles (approx. US$ 1,700); and
- failure to comply with the court’s ruling on the individual’s claim for removing web-links enabling access to information on that individual within five days – 3 million Rubles (approx. US$ 53,000).
This draft law is still under the consideration in the State Duma.