Sunday December 16, 2018
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Google Slammed With a Civil Case From Russia

The legislation, if it goes ahead, would hit global tech giants such as Facebook and Google.

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA
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Russia has launched a civil case against Google, accusing it of failing to comply with a legal requirement to remove certain entries from its search results, the country’s communications watchdog said on Monday.

If found guilty, the U.S. internet giant could be fined up to 700,000 rubles ($10,450), the watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said.

It said Google had not joined a state registry that lists banned websites that Moscow believes contain illegal information and was therefore in breach of the law.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

A final decision in the case will be made in December, the watchdog said. Google declined to comment.

Over the past five years, Russia has introduced tougher internet laws that require search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.

At the moment, the only tools Russia has to enforce its data rules are fines that typically only come to a few thousand dollars, or blocking the offending online services, which is an option fraught with technical difficulties.

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday that Russia planned to impose stiffer fines on technology firms that fail to comply with Russian laws.

The plans for harsher fines are contained in a consultation document prepared by the administration of President Vladimir Putin and sent to industry players for feedback.

Also Read: Political Ads Under Scrutiny By Google Before The EU Elections

The legislation, if it goes ahead, would hit global tech giants such as Facebook and Google, which – if found to have breached rules – could face fines equal to 1 percent of their annual revenue in Russia, according to the sources. (VOA)

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Google Not Going to Offer Controversial Face Recognition Technology

According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI

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- The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

At a time when pressure is mounting on tech companies to utilise facial recognition technology with care to avoid its misuse, Google has said it will not offer the controversial technology for now.

Toeing Microsoft’s line which has asked governments across the world to regulate this technology, Google said facial recognition merits careful consideration.

“Like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes,” Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google, said in a blog post on Friday.

“We continue to work with many organisations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions,” informed Walker.

Earlier this month, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post.

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Google not to offer controversial face recognition technology.
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“The time for action has arrived,” he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019.

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According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI.

“These principles guide our decisions on what types of features to build and research to pursue. As one example, facial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” he added. (IANS)