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Russia’s parliament gives citizens 'right to be forgotten in Internet'

July 03, 2015, 14:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The document caused heated debates in society and criticism from search engines but was subsequently finalized following active interaction between deputies and the industry’s representatives
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Fadeichev

MOSCOW, July 3. /TASS/. The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, passed a law on Friday, giving citizens the right to demand that Internet search engines should erase all irrelevant information about themselves.

The document, informally called the law on the "right to be forgotten," caused heated debates in society and criticism from search engines but was subsequently finalized following active interaction between deputies and the industry’s representatives.

The new regulations allow citizens to demand that search engines should stop providing hyperlinks to information on citizens, if it is disseminated in violation of the Russian legislation, is irrelevant or "has lost significance for the claimant owing to subsequent events or the claimant’s actions."

The exception is made for information on events showing the signs of criminal offences, under which the term for bringing offenders to criminal liability has not expired, and also information on the commitment of crimes, for which criminal records have not been removed or cancelled.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy Leonid Levin said the finalized version of the law excluded the notion of "authenticity" as this created the risk of deleting any authentic information older than three years. Instead of this, the term "irrelevance" was introduced to come closer to the principles used in the EU and allow deleting hyperlinks to inaccurate, inadequate and incomplete information, the deputy said.

A claimant’s demand should contain the claimant’s full name, passport data and contact information. The demand should indicate the hyperlink, which does not suit the claimant, the grounds for a search engine to erase it and confirm the claimant’s consent to personal data processing.

After considering a citizen’s claim and arguments, an Internet search engine may decide either on deleting hyperlinks or rejecting this demand.

The term of considering a user’s claim was increased to 10 working days from 3 calendar days. The term for correcting mistakes in the documents included in a claim was also increased to 10 working days.

Search engines may not disclose information on citizens’ requests filed to them. If a search engine denies a citizen’s claim to remove hyperlinks, a claimant may turn to a court of law "with the demand that the provision of hyperlinks to the corresponding information should be stopped." Lawsuits may be filed at the claimant’s place of residence.

The law will come into force from January 1, 2016.

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