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Russian Lawmakers Vote to Support First Draft of ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Law

Only one Russian lawmaker voted against the first draft of the "right to be forgotten" legislation. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Only one Russian lawmaker voted against the first draft of the “right to be forgotten” legislation. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Members of the Russian Duma (parliament) demonstrated almost unanimous support for a new draft law requiring Internet search engines to delete links to content based on users’ requests. The first reading of the “right to be forgotten” legislation was passed in the Duma on June 16. If the final draft of the law is adopted, it will come into force on January 1, 2016.

423 lawmakers out of the 450 total members of parliament voted in favor of the law. MP Dmitry Gudkov (of the A Just Russia party) was the only lawmaker to vote against the “right to be forgotten.”

I'm the only one against the draft law on forgetting, and it's just been passed in first reading.

The new bill, introduced by lawmakers on May 29, creates a framework for a “right to be forgotten” in Russia that would require Internet search engines to delete links to data about individuals upon request, including information that is seen as false or erroneous. Links to credible information that is more than three years old could also be deleted. The only exception has been made for criminal cases and proceedings whose term has not expired. For cases where search engines fail to comply with deletion requests, a complementary law imposing fines of up to $55,000 has also been submitted to the Duma for consideration.

The new bill also introduces novel terms and concepts into the Russian legal space, such as “search system/engine operator,” “search system/engine,” and “link.”

The “right to be forgotten” legislation has faced criticism from the Russian Internet industry: a spokesperson for the country's biggest search engine Yandex said the law would violate constitutional rights to information and saddle search engines with unreasonable and unusual legal burdens.

RuNet users also discussed the new initiative, wondering whether the law would affect search engines other then Yandex, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and whether the latter would comply. Journalist Evgeny Feldman joked that posting critical commentary of the lawmakers’ decision online was nice, but probably futile.

In three years’ time the lawmakers will be able to erase from search engines everything you're writing to them now, so don't hold back.

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