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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

timothy posted about a month ago | from the youthful-indiscretion dept.

Censorship 248

An anonymous reader writes In the aftermath of the European Court of Justice "right to be forgotten" decision, many asked whether a similar ruling could arise elsewhere. While a privacy-related ruling has yet to hit Canada, Michael Geist reports that last week a Canadian court relied in part on the decision in issuing an unprecedented order requiring Google to remove websites from its global index. The ruling is unusual since its reach extends far beyond Canada. Rather than ordering the company to remove certain links from the search results available through Google.ca, the order intentionally targets the entire database, requiring the company to ensure that no one, anywhere in the world, can see the search results.

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248 comments

Call CDC (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47253227)

Call the CDC! Extra national lawmaking is contagious!

Re:Call CDC (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a month ago | (#47253329)

The CDC already is aware -- we're patient zero.

Re:Call CDC (-1, Troll)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47253421)

It will be hilarious when Mexico starts making laws that apply to other countries.

Ándele Ándele Arriba Arriba Yeeeepa!

Re:Call CDC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253433)

Oh, far from it. Other nations have been doing this for much longer than the US. Europeans particularly like to impose their "superior" laws on the rest of the world. They still haven't figured out that they have lost most of their power, which is probably why they whine so loudly at every perceived slight from the US.

Re:Call CDC (0)

amalcolm (1838434) | about a month ago | (#47253461)

Whilst 'murica' would never try to force ITS ideology on another country/continent. FUCKWIT

Doesn't this already happen? (1)

mysterons (1472839) | about a month ago | (#47253233)

For example, in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] and Thailand https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Doesn't this already happen? (3, Insightful)

stephenmac7 (2700151) | about a month ago | (#47253295)

No, the important part is that it's the global index.

Re:Doesn't this already happen? (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a month ago | (#47253411)

Otherwise, what's the point of removing it. It's trivial for users to search the Google index of other counties. I can search Google France by simply going to Google.fr [google.fr] . If "the right to be forgotten" does not extend outside your own country's borders, are you really forgotten?

Re:Doesn't this already happen? (3, Insightful)

jlv (5619) | about a month ago | (#47253429)

There should be no "right to be forgotten" any more than a right to leach off the livelihood of others.

Re:Doesn't this already happen? (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a month ago | (#47253521)

That's the point the judge made.

He noted that an order from a French court to remove Nazi symbols from Yahoo.com failed, as the California court overturned it. But, he granted this order because he considers removing links to these websites (infringing "intellectual property", it doesn't say what kind) would be valid in most countries.

Re:Doesn't this already happen? (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month ago | (#47253715)

Yes. Because the right to be forgotten is not designed to destroy the evidence. Instead it is designed to make it just a little bit harder to destroy someone's life. If for example your ex-wife or girlfriend falsely accuses you of being a pedophile, then flees the country and keeps posting new blogs about how you had sex with her non-existent daughter, you still deserve the right to get a job. If google blocks you from just you countrie's version of google, then you can get a job. Some companies may check multiple versions of google, and reject you based on the slander, but not all will do it. The right to be forgotten is not designed to prevent anyone from finding out stuff, just to make it a little bit harder.

AHAHA, OMG this is too funny. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253251)

Fuck it. Google should just do it, and then sue back and ask why other search engines aren't being forced to do it.

I guess no one has heard of robots.txt

Internet (4, Insightful)

NotInHere (3654617) | about a month ago | (#47253255)

At least the canadian judges do at least understand how the internet works, when they requested a global ban. However, rulings like these will create a (black?) market for disclosing information. The court is only giving more value to the information, not stopping it spreading.

Re:Internet (1)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about a month ago | (#47253307)

That is definitely one possible outcome. It is beyond ridiculous that this is Google's problem at all. Sue the company who is making the illegal product and force them to take down all sites and advertisements. Once the proper approach has been established, then requesting, not demanding that Google remove the historic links to fraudulent material would be in order. When your cat is stuck up a tree; shooting it gets it down... but that doesn't mean it is the proper course of action.

Re:Internet (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253369)

When your cat is stuck up a tree; shooting it gets it down... but that doesn't mean it is the proper course of action.

Assuming that Google is the tree and the fraudulent web site is the cat, one should not be cutting down the tree to get the cat out. Shooting the cat, in this case, would be a legitimate response.

Or as a car analogy: You don't tear out the road when one person is driving recklessly.

Re:Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253407)

More like cutting off a branch. Though if you cut off all of the branches then it isn't a very good tree.

Re:Internet (5, Insightful)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about a month ago | (#47253619)

Or as a car analogy: You don't tear out the road when one person is driving recklessly.

The car analogy would be accurate if the order was for the internet to be removed. In the Google case, it is more like "Someone is using a road to drive recklessly in Arse-end-of-nowhere, Ontario, CA. People who go to this God-forsaken place usually have a paper map made by Company X, so we are ordering Company X to remove Arse-end-of-nowhere from their maps."

Note, I am NOT suggesting that Ontario is the Arse-end-of-nowhere, but I do find it very troubling that a judge half way around the world from me thinks that my access to information on this matter should be curtailed. If the content is so objectionable, then the web host should be ordered to take the site down. As the plaintiffs in this case have named two Google entities as the non-party entities targeted for action, and the defendants as the individuals responsible for the actions that led to the case being brought, I see no action being taken to order the hosting provider to do anything.
If the rationale behind that lack of action on the hosting provider is that the hosting provider is outside Canadian jurisdiction, then the same rule must also apply to Google Inc., who are being ordered to comply with this ruling.

As a European, regarding the "right to be forgotten", I think it is a potentially good idea in some circumstances which is let down by dumb-assed execution opening the door for abuse by people and other entities looking to remove information of valid public interest.

Re:Internet (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about a month ago | (#47253671)

Wrong, the right analogy would be that you don't just build a embankment right before your own house, but spanning the whole affected part of the shore, including your neighbours.

Software is like a gas, such is the Internet.

Re:Internet (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about a month ago | (#47253341)

I was thinking the same. The probably most "correct" response would be to make it technically impossible to get the data from Canada, but there is no other way to do that than to just block the data worldwide. Otherwise a simple proxy in another country would circumvent it (or even just imperfect detection of whether the user is in Canada or not).

It seems broad, but unless we've got extremely tightly DRM/Firewall of china kind of restrictions on all data, removing it completely is probably the only way for google to make sure it can no longer be accessed from Canada...

It's still not nice to see such rulings, but unless anyone here has a better idea that isn't trivially circumvented, it's probably also totally legit.

Re:Internet (5, Insightful)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254141)

If it's not possible to block/remove the data for just your country, so instead you have to block/remove it for the whole world, I think this demonstrates that the "right to be forgotten" is an unworkable idea. Why should your "right to erase the past" infringe on my right to be informed? Screw that.

Isn't this whole thing because people put undue weight on Internet slander anyway? We're trying to use a technological band-aid to fix a social problem.

Re:Internet (1)

Tom (822) | about a month ago | (#47253783)

RTFA. I doubt your assumption holds true in this case:

The case involves a company that claims that another company used its trade secrets to create a competing product along with "bait and switch" tactics to trick users into purchasing their product. The defendant company had been the target of several court orders demanding that it stop selling the copied product on their website. Google voluntarily removed search results for the site from Google.ca search results, but was unwilling to block the sites from its worldwide search results.

Re:Internet (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254195)

wasDefendantFoundGuilty ? whyShouldTheyHaveARightToBeForgotten : nobodyShouldCareAnyway;

(If they were found guilty, it should be in the public record that they fucked up. If they were found innocent, it should be in the public record that the accusations were unfounded.)

I must be missing something.

Re:Internet (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a month ago | (#47253957)

However, rulings like these will create a (black?) market for disclosing information.

Maybe. It depends on the information. There's lots of information on the internet that no one cares about. There's lots of minor stuff about individual people that might be mildly damaging to someone's personal reputation, but except in a few incredibly rare transactions (like that specific person trying to get a new job or something), no one will care.

A lot of the uproar about the "right to be forgotten" involves actual public records and information which were previously "public" but hard to access (in the sense that you could access them only by traveling to a paper archive somewhere or perhaps sending a written request for a document). Now they can be instantly searched and show up on Google -- but the world functioned reasonably well when many of those records were not so accessible.

So, will people really go out of their way and make a "black market" for this information? Only if it's actually valuable enough that they'd bother to find out if the internet didn't exist.

I think of Google like a giant card catalog in an old library. (Anyone remember those? For you youngsters, there was a cabinet with a bunch of physical index cards that had lists for all the books and items in the library.)

Deleting links from Google is like removing the card from the card catalog. The book still remains on the shelf for anyone to go look at it. And if it's a particularly well-known book, people will find it anyway through other means (go ask the librarian, learn the subject organization for cataloging which will allow you to locate it, etc.).

But if it's a book that's been sitting on the shelf for 100 years and is covered with dust, checked out only once in 1967 by a curious academic with a specific interest, removing the card from the catalog just means the book fades into even more obscurity.

The court is only giving more value to the information, not stopping it spreading.

It's not "giving more value" to it -- it's just making it harder to find. It only has value if people know it exists and are willing to pay someone else to find it. If people don't even know the thing exists, why would anyone pay?

But you do have a point about "not stopping it spreading." There's a reason that people who want to ban library books don't just rip the card out of the card catalog -- they want to actually remove the book from the library shelves. The problem is the process itself of banning something will call attention to the item under question, leading every teenager in the county to track down that "evil banned book" even if the reference is removed from the card catalog. Unless we remove the information from actual websites hosting stuff, rather than just the most popular search engine, it's still out there -- and court filings will just draw attention to it.

So, I would expect that to be the next stage in all these "right to be forgotten" cases -- the argument will be that requiring a court filing to get stuff removed will itself draw attention to the information, so we'll need secret court orders telling Google to take things down, or else we risk emphasizing the very information that people are asking Google to delete. And secret court orders of course are a recipe for abuse....

Um, if I understand this correctly... (4, Interesting)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about a month ago | (#47253293)

Canada doesn't like the things that are imported to Canada from Country X, so they've decided to sue the printers in Country Y who publish maps of the roads to Country X?

Time to Learn Limits (2, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a month ago | (#47253309)

It is time for the courts to learn that they do not have control outside their jurisdiction. Canada can not control what other people do in other countries. Google can store and release the data in other locations, other countries. Canada, at most, can only control what happens within their totalitarianism regime's boarders. If Canadians want a police state then they need to learn that the control ends at their borders. Time for Google to stand up and stomp down on these inanities.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253395)

Canada can not control what other people do in other countries.

What do you think America does all day?

Why does the NSA have the right to order MS and Apple to add a trojan to all (desktop) computers in the world?

Re:Time to Learn Limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253831)

NSA: American
MS: American Company
Apple: American Company

I don't disagree that America pushes its agenda on the rest of the world (and I'd rather that it didn't), but that's a terrible example you picked since there is no cross-jurisdictional issue in it.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254229)

They shouldn't. Don't make the mistake of thinking all Americans approve of their government's actions.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (2, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | about a month ago | (#47253655)

Gosh, I wish I had years of training in multi-jurisdictional legal practice in order to be able to make such bold and sweeping statements.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254215)

So you're saying authorities *should* have power outside their jurisdictions? That seems like a pretty bold and sweeping (and problematic) statement.

Being an expert does not guarantee you make a good decision.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254585)

No. Google is free to not do business in Cananda ...

Their choice.

Re:Time to Learn Limits (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a month ago | (#47254079)

Canada can not control what other people do in other countries.

All governments control what people do through their ability to hand out punishments.

It's not unheard of for a country to enforce punishments on personell or assets located outside their borders (see the guy who leaked israelli nuclear program) but it's pretty rare because it is diplomatically expensive and in extreme cases could be considered an act of war.

What they can more easilly do though is impose punishments for activities outside their border on personnel and assets that are within their borders. For example they can impose a fine on google, if google refuses to pay they can confiscate googles canadian assets.

Overreach as a bug, not a feature (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47253335)

It looks like this judge fully understood the ramifications of stating that one nation's court could ban a company based in another country from displaying information in any country.

I will address here Google's submission that this analysis would give every state in the world jurisdiction over Google’s search services. That may be so. But if so, it flows as a natural consequence of Google doing business on a global scale, not from a flaw in the territorial competence analysis.

In other words, in this judge's opinion, since Google works on a global scale, they should be subject to the laws of all nations at once. Of course, all websites act on a global scale. Slashdot can be easily read in the United States, Canada, Australia, and likely even countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Does this mean that all websites need to obey all nations' laws at once? Where they conflict, are we bound by the most restrictive ones? So while the USA would give Freedom of Speech, we must hold by the stricter laws from some Middle East countries banning the insulting of a certain prophet. Also, we must never mention a certain Chinese square or the incident that happened there. We won't even get into North Korean laws. (I'm sure at least one person there has Internet access even if it is just "Glorious Leader.")

Thank you, Mr. Canadian Judge for imposing the world's conflicting and restrictive laws on the Internet. I'm sure that this will result in a vast improvement in Internet content. I can see the countries with restrictive laws drooling in anticipation already.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

myvirtualid (851756) | about a month ago | (#47253391)

Thank you, Mr. Canadian Judge

Just a little nit: Her title is Madam Justice Fenlon, so your expression of gratitude needs a tweak. :->

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253545)

She should go back to making sandwiches as she's obviously mentally incompetent to do anything else.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254097)

Good point. Slashdot doesn't have an edit function, so consider it changed-if-I-could-edit-the-post. ;-)

Re: Overreach as a bug, not a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253419)

But if Google has no prescience incanada the judge has no way of enforcing his judgement.

So if Google finds complying with Canadian laws too onerous it can remove itself from canada. Obviously that would mean it would be harder for google to obtain advertising funds from Canadian companies so they don't want to do that.

I doubt Iranian law will apply as google probably has no Iranian prescience to be subject to Iranian law.

Is that explained simply enough to get past peoples prejudices that only American law is valid?

Re: Overreach as a bug, not a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253615)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescience

Re: Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

LihTox (754597) | about a month ago | (#47253725)

Could they spin off Google Canada as a separate company? Google Canada would have to abide by the court's decision, but Google proper wouldn't be affected.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (2)

lexarius (560925) | about a month ago | (#47253423)

There's a slight difference in that Google maintains physical offices and possibly datacenters in Canada. They only need to pay heed to countries in which they physically exist. Of course, Google could shut down physical operations in any country that dares try to legislate against it in a global fashion, but this has certain risks. You have to keep datacenters somewhere, after all, and preferably close to your customers.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254081)

True, but they also maintain Google.ca for Canadian users. So perhaps they remove it from their Canadian website. Why should they also remove it from a data center in California, the UK, or Australia just because the Canadian judge says it violated Canadian law? If you allow this then you allow any country to set rules for how a company can act even if that portion of the company isn't in the country in question.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

swillden (191260) | about a month ago | (#47254531)

There's a slight difference in that Google maintains physical offices and possibly datacenters in Canada.

Slight correction. Google has offices in Canada, but no data centers: http://www.google.com/about/da... [google.com]

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#47253439)

In other words, in this judge's opinion, since Google works on a global scale, they should be subject to the laws of all nations at once.

Read it again a bit more carefully, he said "Google doing business on a global scale", so in other words Google must follow the laws of all countries where it does business. If they wanted to set up in North Korea they would have to abide by North Korean law, but for some reason they don't have an office there.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253495)

The judge decided that because Google operates on a global scale, it must conduct business in other countries according to all laws of all other countries.

So, does it also flow as a natural consequence of Canada enacting rules on a global scale that they too must follow all laws enacted and ruled upon by other countries?

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | about a month ago | (#47253541)

She continues (I'll quote a lot, my emphasis at the end):

[141] Google gives as an example of such jurisdictional difficulties the case of Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racism et L’Antisemitisme [Yahoo]. In 2000 two French anti-racism groups filed a suit in France against Yahoo alleging that Yahoo violated a French law prohibiting the display of Nazi paraphernalia by permitting users of its internet auction services to display and sell such artifacts. The plaintiffs demanded that Yahoo’s French subsidiary, Yahoo.fr, remove all hyperlinks to the parent website (Yahoo.com) containing the offending content. As in this case, Yahoo argued that the French Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because its servers were located in the United States. The French Court held that it could properly assert jurisdiction because the damage was suffered in France and required Yahoo to “take all necessary measures” to “dissuade and render impossible” all access via yahoo.com by internet users in France to the Yahoo! internet auction service displaying Nazi artifacts, as well as to block internet users in France from accessing other online Nazi material: 145 F Supp 2d 1168 (ND Cal 2001) at 1172.

[142] Yahoo claimed that implementing the order would violate its First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and therefore could not be enforced in the United States. The French Court did not accept that submission. Yahoo initiated a suit in California against the French plaintiffs, and obtained a declaratory judgment that the French orders were constitutionally unenforceable in the United States, contrary to the first amendment. Addressing the issue of international comity, the Court reasoned that United States Courts will generally recognize and enforce foreign judgments but could not do so on the facts of that case because enforcement of the French orders would violate Yahoo’s constitutional rights to free speech: 169 F Supp 2d 1181 (ND Cal 2001) at 1192-1193. This decision was ultimately reversed on different grounds: 379 F 3d 1120 (9th Cir 2004), reheard in 433 F 3d 1199 (9th Cir 2006).

[143] Yahoo provides a cautionary note. As with Mareva injunctions, courts must be cognizant of potentially compelling a non-party to take action in a foreign jurisdiction that would breach the law in that jurisdiction. That concern can be addressed in appropriate cases, as it is for Mareva injunctions, by inserting a Baltic type proviso, which would excuse the non-party from compliance with the order if to do so would breach local laws.

[144] In the present case, Google is before this Court and does not suggest that an order requiring it to block the defendants’ websites would offend California law, or indeed the law of any state or country from which a search could be conducted. Google acknowledges that most countries will likely recognize intellectual property rights and view the selling of pirated products as a legal wrong.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about a month ago | (#47253629)

Thank you, Mr. Canadian Judge for imposing the world's conflicting and restrictive laws on the Internet.

If the courts remain inactive, they will soon face strong international internet companies which build their own oligarch-controlled "states" that apply their own rules. Look at the restrictions on apple app store or the recent mega-troll made by amazon.

There is no global institution to apply rules to those companies. If you only apply the rules of their "home country", they like to choose the most liberal state as "home country" so that they can do what they want. Why did facebook chose Ireland for Europe?
Of course I'm against north korea enabling to forbid global internet access. Its hard to find a good solution to this problem, but to allow those huge companies to act like states is not the right direction. They are there to help the economy, not to play around with it.

The Internet can bring more freedom to people than anything else in the world, but it shouldn't be an anarchy. The outdated business model of the media companies shouldn't be fought by technology, but by politics.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (0)

Tom (822) | about a month ago | (#47253755)

Does this mean that all websites need to obey all nations' laws at once?

Ask yourself the opposite: Does it mean they need to obey no national laws? Or the least restrictive ones? I'm sure there's at least one country on this planet where child rape is illegal, or snuff movies, or if that's not extreme enough for you, life-feed child-rape-and-then-kill-afterwards video-on-demand.

Aside from a few fanatics, I think we agree that there is some limit, somewhere about what you can legally say or show. In some countries it is libel laws, in others it is copyright, in yet others it is politically motivated, and in many more it is based on laws to protect children or others who can't protect themselves.

At this point in time, we have no global agreement on those limits, but local laws. So the two alternatives really are as I outlined above - all nations or no nations.

Given those choices, I think the judge made the right call, because the alternative is anarchy. Which while some people romanticize it, basically means the guy with the bigger club will kill you for your sandwich. Especially among geeks I thought there's some understanding for what the rule of the strongest entails, and that it's not pretty.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254045)

If the judge said that Google had to remove the item from Google.ca, the Canadian Google website, I'd have said Google should comply with it with no problem. The problem arises when a judge says that, thanks to laws in Canada, someone in the United States (or any other country) can't see certain content. How do you allow one country to mandate what the entire world is allowed to see without descending into a tangled web of restrictive laws banning all but the most innocuous content?

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a month ago | (#47254213)

The opposite of all nations is not no nations, the opposite is less than all nations. While that set includes no nations that is not exactly a choice because the company still has to obey the laws in which it resides And because of that your analogies does not work. Following your logic all data in the internet would soon be scrubbed because all companies, including those repressive ones, would want data they do not like removed from the internet.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254355)

life-feed

Live feed? Or was that a rather grisly pun intended? :-/

The proper approach is to block them locally. If people find ways to route around it, too bad, so sad. If you want to screw with your own people, fine. If you try to abide by all parties' standards worldwide, I guarantee you one of the first ones in line will be certain theocracies blocking all our porn, probably 90% of our TV/movies (since they're all sexual one way or another, really), and all religions but their own.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Tom (822) | about a month ago | (#47254685)

The proper approach is to block them locally.

Is it? Strange, we rage against the Big Wall of China every opportunity we get, don't we? And we don't want national Internet filters, do we? But the logical conclusion from your argument is exactly that.

If you try to abide by all parties' standards worldwide, I guarantee you one of the first ones in line will be certain theocracies

Absolutely, yes. I didn't say it was the ultimate solution. But given the two alternatives available to a judge to choose from at this time, his choice was the better one.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month ago | (#47253819)

With all those trees Canada surely has an abundance of squirrels. Apparently one squirrel is now a judge.

Easy solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253907)

Remove incompetent judges
Disband illegal companies
Disband undemocratic powers

Captcha: daybreak

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

WhatHump (951645) | about a month ago | (#47253965)

Does this mean that all websites need to obey all nations' laws at once?

No, it means that all websites have to tailor their content to the location of the viewer. There are lots of nations that have restrictions on internet content. I do not agree with this, as it destroys the open and global nature of the internet. However, there is no utopia, the world is a messy place, filled with politics and agendas, and the powers that be will break the internet to suit their needs.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254393)

Would people actually benefit from seeing (some subset of) things that offend them? A lot of those things for a lot of people are social prejudices.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

WhatHump (951645) | about a month ago | (#47254509)

People in power would benefit. China suppresses information on the Tiannamen Square protests. A politician would benefit from hiding a scandal or criminal record. "Knowledge is power" but so is the suppression of knowledge.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254281)

Or Option B (AKA "the Muslim option"*)--we just cut off Canada from the Internet. That should have the same effect, right?

* I assume I'll get modded down for this, but it seems like the only way to solve the whole "how dare you post pictures of Allah/Mohammed/anything we don't like" issue without just removing the offending content, the idea of which I find repugnant (the removing). Although it still seems like a long shot from previous articles where the viewpoint sounded like "just because we can't see it, we still know it exists."

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a month ago | (#47254375)

Shouldn't it be the "religious options" The same things you are quoting Muslims of having issues with Christians and other religious have as well... Book burnings anyone?

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a month ago | (#47254441)

It's probably a problem of perception, but from what I hear it seems the Muslims shout the loudest about it. And they also control the government in a number of countries, whereas the Westboro Baptists are just a couple dozen cunts in some random community with no political power.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254625)

To be fair, it's the "control the government" part that's important, not which religion it is. If the WBC somehow got in control of the US government, you can be sure that the United States would quickly resemble a radical Christian version of some of the radical Muslim countries. Of course, the WBC has zero chance of doing this, but other fundamentalist religious groups have candidates either in office or with serious backing to take office. Those candidates then try to craft laws based on "Religion X says this is bad so we need to ban it for everyone." It's not nearly as bad as the radical Muslim countries, but it's still bad and should be stopped.

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

c (8461) | about a month ago | (#47254295)

In other words, in this judge's opinion, since Google works on a global scale, they should be subject to the laws of all nations at once.

I think it's more that Google has a physical and legal presence in Canada (and many other countries to some degree or another), and hence a Canadian court order can apply to their entire business. The consequence of not following that order is that there are Google people in Canada who can be jailed for not following that order.

Companies who are only physically present in one country but have a web presence wouldn't be affected by court orders outside of their own country since that leverage doesn't exist, and many (if not most) foreign courts would likely toss a case due to lack of jurisdiction. In countries where a multi-national might have a small and/or expendable presence (i.e. a local shell company staffed by contractors), they could get away with ignoring a local court order with minimal risk (i.e. they might lose their .xx TLD).

No doubt Google Canada is set up as a separate subsidiary corporation and they think that there should be some sort of legal firewall at the political boundaries, but the funny thing about multi-national corporations is that these firewalls are always quite permeable when it comes to money flowing in a particular direction. So, why can't court orders follow the money?

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254675)

The problem with this reasoning, then, is that any multi-national corporation would need to follow the laws of every land they operate in - across their entire organization. Say Google opened Google Saudi Arabia, would they be required to force all female staff to cover their entire bodies in public - even female staff in California? If they didn't, Google would be violating Saudi Arabian law. Sure, it wouldn't be violating it *within* Saudi Arabia, but the "violation" would be there as would be the Google subsidiary.

What if Google also opened a subsidiary in a country that banned garb like that required by Saudi Arabian law? How do they follow both laws at once across their entire organization?

Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254629)

Canada already has incredibly restrictive laws on free speech. For example, most members of the westboro baptist "church" would be jailed in Canada under hate speech laws.

Will Google comply? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253347)

I am thinking they will not. Canada does not have the right to destroy information outside of its jurisdiction.

Re:Will Google comply? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253497)

But they apparently do have the right to compel a company operating in their jurisdiction to do so. Ah, Slashdot...come for the tech news, stay for the ignorant and incorrect armchair legal analysis.

Re:Will Google comply? (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a month ago | (#47253501)

I am thinking they will not. Canada does not have the right to destroy information outside of its jurisdiction.

A Canadian court has jurisdiction over businesses in Canada and can enforce its rulings by fining them or stopping them from operating. Google can certainly refuse to comply, but they may have to stop doing business in Canada, and the Canadian court could block them.

I think the Canadian court is wrong, but don't make the mistake of thinking that these kinds of laws and rulings have no teeth. I also think that such rulings hurt the country issuing more than anybody else.

Re:Will Google comply? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254159)

The problem is that Google could remove the content from Google.ca - the Canadian Google website - but why should they be compelled to remove it from the Google sites that serve other countries as well? If your answer is "because someone from Canada could reach that site and thus see the content", then we're back to "Google has to obey all the laws in every country they operate in, even just a little bit, including all the conflicting laws, simultaneously across their entire operation."

Re:Will Google comply? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47254525)

Because one can, within Canada, quite easily access google.com?

Re:Will Google comply? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254709)

One can, within Saudi Arabia, easily access Google.com. Does this means that Google if Google opened a Saudi Arabian subsidiary (not sure if they have one already), they would be forced to remove - on Google.com for all web users - links to any site showing women wearing clothing that doesn't completely cover them?

There goes Google (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a month ago | (#47253385)

Google had better reject this order, or it's all downhill from here.

Germany orders Google to remove all mentions of Nazis. Saudi Arabia orders Google to remove all mentions of alcohol and extra-marital sex. The US orders Google to remove all mentions of the leaks published by Snowden/Manning/Assange.

How long until nothing is left, when every country in the world can expunge whatever they don't like?

Re:There goes Google (1)

nblender (741424) | about a month ago | (#47254597)

At least we'd have cat photos.

Cut them off. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about a month ago | (#47253417)

I think it's time Google started cutting countries off when they pull stupid shit like this. Canada isn't even 40 million people.

Re:Cut them off. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253961)

I think that's the idea. One way for the government to stop their subjects having access to too much information while maintaining plausible deniability.

Before we get too high on our horses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253441)

Doesn't Google already do this, for child porn among other things?

Imagine someone posting detailed drawings of top secret US military hardware. Di you think for a moment that the US govt wouldn't demand - and get - the same thing?

DMCA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253479)

This is how we in Europe feel when you use DMCA to censor content. It does niot just affect US.
Or when microsoft have to provide my email history to US goverment even tho my data is in Europe.

I say this article is old news for the rest of the world

Just wait. . . (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a month ago | (#47253595)

until the Scientologists start asking to have all the web sites which outline their seedy, extortionist processes to be removed.

Sorry folks, you posted something on the web, it's available to everyone and this nonsense about removing web sites is completely anathema to the concept of the WWW.

Re:Just wait. . . (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month ago | (#47254179)

Or until they get someone in power in some country Google operates in who declares discussing psychiatry online to be illegal. All those psychiatry websites will need to be delinked ASAP!

Re:Just wait. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254617)

Google just provides the links. If something is illegal, the courts need to go after the website, not the search engine.

Maybe, just maybe, Google should retaliate by blocking all Canadian IP addresses from accessing any Google service, whether it be google.ca, google.com, gmail.com, advertising services, etc. Completely block them with the message, "Sorry, we don't wish to abide by the ruling in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, so we opted to block all Canadians from doing business with us."

Re:Just wait. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254233)

"you posted something on the web" - No, I didn't, it was my competitor.

"removing web sites is completely anathema to the concept of the WWW" - Citation needed.

Just Google? (1)

TQL (793194) | about a month ago | (#47253803)

<tt>I know that a lot of people making these legal decisions might not be the most technical but surely they realise that Google is not the only search engine and that removing something from one search provider's index does not make the information magically disappear.<br><br>Since this is not the first request (and you can guarantee it won't be the last either), does anyone else find it a bit suspicious that many of them appear to be singling Google out? I have seen the odd report where Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo have been presented with similar take down orders but it doesn't appear to be on the same scale.</tt>

Just Google? (1)

TQL (793194) | about a month ago | (#47253855)

<tt>(and why did Slashdot Beta just fill my post with un-interpreted HTML tags??)</tt>

Re:Just Google? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a month ago | (#47254285)

Better question, why would you use the beta?

This order cannot stand (1)

jjo (62046) | about a month ago | (#47253845)

I fully expect this order to be reversed, either by judicial or by legislative action. I say this because Google cannot possibly accept this precedent, since their business simply couldn't operate if it had to comply worldwide with the laws of every country it does business in. At the last resort, Google would pull out of Canada rather than accept this order, and the Canadians are sensible enough to see that as something they really do not want.

Re:This order cannot stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253925)

Actually, all US tech companies should pull out of Canada until this judge is imprisoned.

Re:This order cannot stand (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month ago | (#47254603)

So what do you suggest that Canadians do? Move?

Care to take a guess at what a pain the ass that might be? Also, one could probably kiss their career goodbye unless one already has plenty of connections in the destination country relevant to their field.

You Go Canada, Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47253857)

Yeah Ba-by, You Go Canada.. Who in the hell does this g00gle company think they are and who gave them the keys to the kingdom???

Take Off, Eh?

What I like most... (1)

advid.net (595837) | about a month ago | (#47253979)

... is that Google used to mention that some links were remove from search results by court order, and thus mention the order which has the links in question... :D

The time is right! (2)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about a month ago | (#47254049)

Look for "Team Canada, World (Thought) Police" at a theater, (oh, sorry, "theatre"), near you!

Google Franshise (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a month ago | (#47254103)

It seems Google should restructure its operations. It should split it search buisness into sepperate legal entities for some regions. These Google franshise's would purchase index data from the parent company. The franshise would have there own servers and have control over there own site. That Canada franshise would have servers in Canada and would sell advertisments on the Google.ca site. The parent company would keep all its assest in CA.

Re:Google Franshise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254433)

I could be wrong, but wouldn't it be much harder to dodge taxes that way?

Website Removal From Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254171)

Does this mean my Canadian website will no longer be shown in search results? If so, it's basically going to kill my business and there will certainly be no reason to pay Adsense anything to get my site into the search results.

Google needs to get ahead of this... (1)

sigmabody (1099541) | about a month ago | (#47254421)

Google's only really viable option, as far as I can tell, is to create a tailored censored portal for each country (really, legal jurisdiction, but basically the same thing), and allow anyone in that jurisdiction to request that anything be censored in an automated manner. Then they can create an "uncensored" jurisdiction, which you would need to opt into, with a disclaimer and such.

Once you have that, you can much more effectively fight these sort of "censor for the entire world" orders, by asserting that you already support per-jurisdiction "removal", and to remove globally would violate the rights of other jurisdictions to self-censor as appropriate. It's not perfect (nothing in international law is), but at least it would give Google a way to somewhat comply with the flood of censorship demands which are coming, without trying to fight each new demand independently.

BC needs Google time out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254491)

The judge's logic chain to claim jurisdiction over Google included the ruling that Google Canada did an advertising business in BC and the advertising and search businesses were coupled. If Google Canada ceased operations in BC, then the judge's logic chain would no longer exist. This would also result in no sites in BC being findable from Google. This seems a fair outcome. The judge has the right to choose the rules for the game, but Google should have the choice to play or not.

If Google is willing to do this, then I bet the good folks in BC would consider the fair and reasonable consequence of their judge's actions and decide that this path might need adjusting.

The judge seemed fairly cautious in arriving at the the decision for jurisdiction. Perhaps Google could discuss with the judge to see if this course of action would be a satisfactory way to satisfy the court's request in this case.

IDGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254527)

There are those little thinks called "meta" keywords that can be used in web pages. One of them is called "robots" and its values are meant to tell the search engines what they can do with the web site, if they are allowed to do anything at all. There is also an "X-Robots-Tag" HTTP header that does the same thing.

The way I see it, Google doesn't have anything to do here, or shouldn't have, unless 1) the developers who built the stupid website are incompetent, 2) the marketing department wanted the site to be indexed, 3) the management at the complaining company are incompetent, too, because it didn't occur to them that they should specifically mention that the site is supposed to be invisible to the search engines when they decided to have the website built, or 4) even more incompetence when they decided to bring that to court without having asked the IT/software development dudes if it made sense. Clearly, it doesn't make any sense to me.

What is this about, anyway (1)

phorm (591458) | about a month ago | (#47254563)

I browsed through the court docket. I see the case is from "equustek solutions", but I fail to see what should be removed, and why. This mostly centers around "why we think we should have jurisdiction for a judgement" but not on what the basis of the block/judgement is.

Is this somebody removing a third-party? Not indexing their own site (that's easy, robots.txt)?

Or else what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254575)

I was under the impression that the global index was more or less under American jurisdiction. It is available in Canada because that's how the Internet works, but if Canada want their own, sanitised, index, located in Canada, so the courts can poke it, I'm sure Google could oblige (they have experience with their business in China). I can't see Canada kicking Google out because they didn't censor the world outside Canada's jurisdiction.

For reference, see FATCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254601)

It is hilarious to see all the Google fanboys all rushing out to defend Google and decry this as the judge overreaching jurisdiction.

Newsflash! If a company wish to do business in a country, the company has to obey local laws, and that often means that the even other parts of the same company that is located in a different country ALSO have to observe those laws.

If you think this is anything new, just look at how many non-US companies need to help the US Govt to track US citizens' money thanks to FATCA.

Can any of those companies just ignore FATCA? Sure, if they are prepared to never do business with any US companies ever again.

If Google wish, they could simply withdraw all assets from Canada, never do business with any Canadian companies or individuals, and then give the judge the finger.

Funniest Line in the Order (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about a month ago | (#47254653)

From the court order:

[53] Google submits that its advertising services are completely separate from its search services

Seriously?!?

I guess telling bald-faced lies in court doesn't fall under the category of "do no evil".

 

I don't think that word means what you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254669)

This is much more than an index removal request for some petty privacy issue, this above case involves a company who in good faith licensed a third party to sell its products. The third party then did a bait and switch with its knock off product labeled as the licencors. After many court cases and successful judgments the third party was forced out of direct marketing, but, it still markets indirectly through virtual online companies. So this case which includes tests for jurisdiction and applicability is to remove that last piece of market deception.

Decentralized, distributed search. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47254711)

I think it's clear that we need some sort of decentralized, distributed web search technology. Is there anything budding right now? Seems like it will be a tough nut to crack but it's something that's essential for the freedom of the web in the future.

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