Canadian Supreme Court Orders Google To Take Down Some Search Results Globally

Andrew Cummings
June 29, 2017

Equustek then sought an injunction to stop Google from displaying any part of the Datalink websites on any of its search results worldwide. Specifically, he told The Toronto Star that this may help in cases of cyber-stalking, harassment or defamation, where certain pages online may be spreading information that is harmful to someone's public image.

With Datalink no longer even attempting to defend itself, but continuing to sell products that infringed Equustek's IP, the latter company turned to Google and asked that the web giant delist it's dodgy rival's website from its search engine.

The 7-2 landmark ruling was delivered in a case Google vs Equustek, which started when British Columbia based technology company Equustek Solutions accused distributor Datalink Technology Gateways of relabeling one of its products and selling it as their own online.

No such application has been made, and Google has yet to respond to requests for comment.

"This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values, it is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders", she writes.

Canada's Supreme Court says America's Hat has authority over Google results worldwide.

In its appeal Wednesday, Google argued that freedom of expression is critical for the platform.

"The ruling largely sidesteps the question of whether such a global order would violate foreign law or intrude on internet users' free speech rights", the foundation said.

Several rights organizations have banded together in Google's defense, rightfully claiming censorship and that Canada's courts are clearly overstepping their bounds.

"Google will obviously abide the ruling, but... what happens if a Chinese court orders it to remove Taiwanese sites from the index?"

But Datalink's owner Morgan Jack, who had been operating his company out of his Vancouver apartment, had fled the country after a warrant had been issued for his arrest. That didn't stop Datalink from moving "the objectionable content" to new pages within its websites.

The ruling, the group said, would effectively "expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country". "We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods", wrote Justice Rosalie Abella.

Google's brief to the top court claims the worldwide order is "intended to silence speech" and that Google is not a party to the dispute and can not stop Datalink from launching new websites.

The Supreme Court rejected Google's argument that the right to freedom of expression should have prevented the order from being issued.

Equustek then approached Google in September 2012 and asked it to de-index Datalink's website, but Google refused so Equustek brought court proceedings. They noted that Google already alters its search results to de-list child pornography, hate speech, and to comply with DMCA copyright notices in the United States.

"Today's decision confirms that online service providers can not turn a blind eye to illegal activity that they facilitate", Graham told CBC News. It said the counterfeit claim had not been tested in court, and it might never be if the injunction stood, because there'd be no incentive to bring the case to court if a company's ability to operate could simply be shut down by injunction.

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