Google can be forced to pull results globally, Canada supreme court rules

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The Guardian reported on this on the 29th June 2017.. What do they mean? Well, “The case stems from claims by a company called Equustek Solutions Inc, from British Columbia that manufactures network devices, that a distributor, Datalink Technologies Gateways, relabelled one of its products and sold it as its own online and acquired trade secrets to design and manufacture a competing product.

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In 2012, Equustek asked Google to remove Datalink search results until the case against the company was resolved. While Google removed over 300 specific web pages associated with Datalink, it did so only on the Canadian version of its search engine.

The supreme court of British Columbia subsequently ordered Google to stop displaying search results in any country for any part of Datalink’s websites.”

So Equustek didn’t want anyone finding Datalink products until their court case was settled. A reasonable request you might say.

Google appealed and argued that the global reach order was unnecessary and raised concerns over the freedom of expression.. but this argument was rejected by the Canadian supreme court.

“The global reach was necessary, according to the court, because if the removed search results were restricted to Canada alone, purchasers both in and out of Canada could easily continue to find and buy from Datalink.”

OpenMedia, a Canadian group campaigning for open communications, opposed the ruling.

“There is great risk that governments and commercial entities will see this ruling as justifying censorship requests that could result in perfectly legal and legitimate content disappearing off the web because of a court order in the opposite corner of the globe,” said an OpenMedia spokesman, David Christopher.

Most online comment think the ruling is reasonable but largely unenforceable and therefore pointless.

This scenario is similar to the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling from 2014 when The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in a controversial case that search companies must listen, and possibly act, when people request that search results about themselves be taken down. This does exist and you can apply to be ‘removed’ here...

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