Google Canada Court Ruling Raises Censorship Concerns

Canada can now order Google to remove search results worldwide

The Canadian supreme court has ruled that the country now has the ability to force Google to remove search results worldwide. The court case began after the Canadian company Datalink was found in 2012 to have stolen details of a product from a manufacturing company, which led to Datalink’s website subsequently being removed from Canadian Google search result pages. However, the court has stated that since people could still buy from Datalink internationally because “the internet has no borders”, the only way to ensure that the injunction works is to “have it apply where Google operates – globally”. Google has responded by saying that the move threatens freedom of expression – something which should have meant the order was never issued. A spokesman for OpenMedia, a Canadian group campaigning for open communications, has also opposed the ruling, saying that it creates a risk that “governments and commercial entities will see this ruling as justifying censorship requests that could result in perfectly legal content” being removed from the web entirely. Google cannot appeal the ruling and so is forced to comply with the decision. The only way it can repeal the order is to be able to prove to the Canadian supreme court that by following the instruction, Google would be violating the laws of another country. 

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