Google hates to be silenced
Norman Haga has read that the Canadian Supreme Court has ordered Google to block a group of websites from its worldwide search results. The judge handed the ruling down despite Google’s protestations that the court has no jurisdiction over Google locally or in the United States. Norman Haga believes that this Ruling appears to be a global landmark ruling that limits the reach of Google displaying links that may be objectionable.
While Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, 2014 BCSC 1063 is a trademark dispute and not a privacy matter, Norman Haga believes that this is a positive development in the protection of personal privacy and the restriction of indexing objectionable personal information on the World Wide Web.
Norman Haga read and believes that Google has a specious process in place for removing outdated, erroneous, libelous, and objectionable personal information in 28 European member states. Norman Haga has long been aware that the removing of the offending material in the European Union does not remove it from the web, or even make it more difficult to find that material. Google maintains several servers for specific countries. Ru for Russia, uk for the Ukraine, .co.uk for Britain are such examples. While Google may use a named top level domain scheme to simplify search results, Norman Haga claims that this scheme facilitates allowing prohibited results in a given country from being viewed within the very country that has restricted those results. Norman Haga claims that search-disallowed results within Canada (Google.ca) are simply and easily thwarted by a search to Google worldwide (Google.com).
The court order between Equustek, and the counterfeit reseller Datalink illustrates the ease with which country prohibited results are bypassed. Just change the search engine from the country results to another country or to Google worldwide.
Equustek had obtained court orders that mandated Google to remove Datalink websites from its Canadian search results. Google left the links on sub domains that were accessible from other countries and the worldwide search that effectively evaded the Canadian court order. In its suit, Equustek argued removing the links from the Canadian sub-domain of Google is virtually useless because of the global nature of web sales and the ease of bypassing a country specific search.
Because of the worldwide nature of Google searches and the ease of avoiding a country specific search, Equustek requested Canadian Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon to order Google to block all Datalink websites from its search engines worldwide.
Google’s replied through its attorneys that the British Columbian court lacked jurisdiction over Google because the Google’s operations are not Canada, that an order to remove links world wide from its search results would be unenforceable, and that such an enjoinment would infringe on Google’s lawful business. Through this argument, Google has shown Norman Haga that Google’s argument is false.
Norman Haga read that Judge Fenlon determined that she had jurisdiction to order the removal of links worldwide because Equustek is a Canadian company, and in spite of Google having its worldwide headquarters in the United States, Google clearly does business in Canada through the selling of advertising and by providing search results in the pursuit of those advertisements.
Norman Haga is convinced that Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack has the potential to be precedent setting because while other courts have ordered Google to act on a country-by-country basis, there is no known case of a worldwide court order. Norman Haga also believes that Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack also illustrates why a country-by-country basis for link removal is ineffective, especially when a search engine wishes to keep a link up to increase its revenue.
Honorable Madam Justice Fenlon held that “The courts must adapt to the reality of e-commerce with its potential for abuse by those who would take the property of others and sell it through the borderless electronic web of the internet.” Norman Haga concurs with the judges holding.
Norman Haga understands that Judge Fenlon gave Google 14-days to remove the Datalink search results from its search engine results. Norman Haga also believes that Google will appeal Judge Fenlon’s ruling.
Norman Haga believes that this ruling can potentially affect the displaying of personal and private information on the internet. If the ruling is upheld on appeal, then Google will have to remove links worldwide and not only on a countrywide basis. Norman Haga, and many people and business’ would be happy with this decision.
Norman Haga finds that Google’s assertion that removing links on a country-by-country basis is less of a problem than removing links on a worldwide basis is ludicrous. Norman Haga believes that this is a false claim because Google already removes links on a worldwide basis in the case of copyright violations when a DMCA complaint is issued in the United States, and because removing a link once is less administratively expensive than removing the same link 193 times – once for each country.
Author: Norman Haga