TechDirt.com published an article this morning that deals with what has been a growing trend around the world. Countries wanting to dictate terms to Google. A Canadian court has ruled that it can order Google to block websites globally. This all started with one company accusing another of selling counterfeit goods.
From the article:
Almost exactly a year ago we wrote about a troubling lawsuit in British Columbia, where a court ruled that Google needed to block access to a website globally. The case involved one company accusing another of selling counterfeit or copied equipment, and despite Google not even being a party to the case, said that Google needed to make sure no one could find the site in question via Google anywhere in the world. As we noted, this had tremendously problematic consequences. For example, China doesn’t think anyone should be able to learn about the protests in Tiananmen Square. Can it now order Google to remove all links to such references globally? That result seems crazy. And, of course, there was a separate issue of how the court even had jurisdiction over Google, seeing as it does not have any operations, staff or servers in British Columbia. Google stepped in to protest the injunction at the appeals court.
the appeals court basically accepts the lower court’s confused understanding of things:
While Google does not have servers or offices in the Province and does not have resident staff here, I agree with the chambers judge’s conclusion that key parts of Google’s business are carried on here. The judge concentrated on the advertising aspects of Google’s business in making her findings. In my view, it can also be said that the gathering of information through proprietary web crawler software (“Googlebot”) takes place in British Columbia. This active process of obtaining data that resides in the Province or is the property of individuals in British Columbia is a key part of Google’s business.
Google says that even if it is concluded that it carries on business in British Columbia, the injunction was not properly granted, because it did not relate to the specific business activities that Google carries on in the Province. In my view, the business carried on in British Columbia is an integral part of Google’s overall operations. Its success as a search engine depends on collecting data from websites throughout the world (including British Columbia) and providing search results (accompanied by targeted advertising) throughout the world (including British Columbia). The business conducted in British Columbia, in short, is the same business as is targeted by the injunction.
Read the full article on Tech Dirt