An unprecedented ruling in Canada’s Supreme Court will allow the country to force the removal of search results in Google’s search engine – anywhere in the world.
In its judgement, the Canadian Supreme Court states:
“The internet has no borders – its natural habitat is global. The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates – globally.”
This decision stems from claims dating back to 2012. Equustek Solutions Inc, a small technology company in British Columbia, claimed that another distributor stole Equustek’s trade secrets and proceeded to design and manufacture a competing product.
The Supreme Court ordered Google to remove search results for the other distributor’s websites in any country where they’re being displayed. Instead, Google took action by removing search results only from the Canadian version of its search engine.
Google appealed the decision to remove search results worldwide, which the Supreme Court rejected.
The search giant argued the decision raised concerns over freedom of expression, while the Supreme Court argued:
“We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods.”
The Supreme Court believes its decision to have Google remove search results worldwide was necessary, because people in other countries could still find and buy products from the law-breaking distributor.
Google can no longer appeal the Supreme Court’s decision, which passed 7-2. The only way Google can apply to have the order changed is if the company ends up violating laws in other countries through following the order.
No such application has been made, and Google has yet to respond to requests for comment.