[JURIST] Russian parliament [official website] members on Friday voted for a bill that forces online search engines to remove search results about a person at that person’s request. The new law will allow [AP report] a person to request that search engines like Yahoo! or Google remove search results for his or her name without stating which specific links they want removed. The law, approved by the Russian State Duma [official website, in Russian], extends the right of removal to public personnel and information that can be considered in the public interest. Yandex, the country’s most popular search engine, issued a statement saying that “the bill impedes people’s access to important and reliable information, or makes it impossible to obtain such information.” The parliament’s decision is expected to have a more drastic effect than a similar law implemented [JURIST report] by the European Union (EU) [official website] in February 2012.
Privacy laws and privacy retention issues have sparked controversy for several years as technology has developed at an astonishing pace. In 2013 the Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] urged governments around the world to implement stronger laws [JURIST report] and policies that protect online privacy in the wake of increasing pervasive electronic surveillance. In August 2013, the Washington Post released a 2012 internal audit [materials] revealing that the National Security Agency [official website] broke numerous privacy laws since 2008. In July 2013 civil liberties groups filed [JURIST report] an amicus curiae brief in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [official website] supporting efforts by Google and Microsoft to publish data concerning how many times the government invoked federal law to request user information for national security purposes.