Russian censors block Google

Nov. 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- An Internet blacklist approved by Russian lawmakers in July left users there without access to the search engine Google, officials noted Monday.

Vladimir Pikov, a spokesman for media watchdog Roskomnadzor, said a "technical failure" caused a temporary ban on Google last weekend.

"Hopefully, no one experienced any serious inconvenience," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. Service was restored by Monday.

Critics of the legislation, passed in July, said they were concerned restrictions on Internet access may be used to crackdown on anti-government activity in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week signed a measure that expands the definition of treason to include activity that poses a threat to Russia's "constitutional order, sovereignty and territorial and state integrity."

The signing follows an investigation into various opposition groups in the country. Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the opposition Left Front movement, is under investigation for allegedly discussing revolutionary ambitions with political leaders in Georgia.

Opposition to Putin has grown since he won a non-consecutive third term in office in elections criticized by monitors.

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