Russian lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that would force internet search engines to remove personal information from their results upon user requests.
The Russian State Duma voted overwhelmingly for the law which was criticized by Russia’s biggest search engine Yandex for “restricting free access to public data.”
“Yandex and other Internet companies have criticized this legislation from the moment we heard about,” Yandex said in a statement.
“Our point has always been that a search engine cannot take on the role of a regulatory body and act as a court or law enforcement agency.”
According to the bill users will not only have the right to order the search engines to erase links to pages which have inaccurate or unlawfully published information, but also to pages that have information which is accurate but published over than three years ago and does not constitute a crime.
The search engines will have 10 days to comply with removal requests from users or else risk fines. Users will also be able pursue a legal action in the event a request is rejected.
The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin has tightened its grip on the internet in recent years.
Legislation passed last year requires blogs with more than 3,000 daily visitors to register with a federal body which has the power to prevent access to the “extremist” websites.
Another law passed last year also made storing Russians’ personal data on local servers in Russia mandatory.
The Russian right-to-be-forgotten bill needs to be signed by President Putin to come into effect.