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Censorship Canada Google The Courts The Internet

Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index 248

Posted by timothy
from the youthful-indiscretion dept.
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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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

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  • Call CDC (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @07:51AM (#47253227)

    Call the CDC! Extra national lawmaking is contagious!

  • Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotInHere (3654617) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @07:56AM (#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.

    • 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:18AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Stolpskott (2422670) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:47AM (#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.

        • 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.

        • I can't argue with the good debate that has arisen from trying to come up with a great analogy, but I actually hadn't intended it to be so literal, simply that the ends don't always justify the means. I feel these sorts of law suits make the scope of the results too small, which makes it easy to get caught up attempting the wrong solution, despite the appearance of a 'solution'. Especially since the 'ends' in this case is to remove records from Google which, while a good first step, is far from the desired
      • I agree. A more sensible solution would be to mandate that the infringing website be changed to say "the GW1000 product relies on technology stolen from Equustek . To buy the original product, visit Equustek " Make them put up a link to the original product.

        Order that the defendants pay for the hosting for 100 years or whatever.

        Finally, bar the defendants from working together and/or working on similar technology.

        I'm not sure what the judge's problem is though. What you carry out in your brain is yours t

    • 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

      • Re:Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @09:41AM (#47254141) Journal

        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.

    • by Tom (822)

      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.

      • 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.

        • by Tom (822)

          I must be missing something.

          Yes, like Reading The Fucking Article.

          This is not a court case about some opinion being posted online or some unfavorable blog posting. The defendant in this case is manufacturing counterfeit products and selling them online, and has already been ordered by courts to stop doing so.

          This is not about the european "right to be forgotten" at all, that was merely a click-bait blurb added into the summary.

          • This is not a court case about some opinion being posted online or some unfavorable blog posting.

            I didn't say it was...

            This is not about the european "right to be forgotten" at all, that was merely a click-bait blurb added into the summary.

            Well, they seem to be saying that they should be able to have the information removed from the Internet, so perhaps you could explain to me how it's really any different, other than being in Canada instead of Europe. (I skimmed the article and they point out that Europe's right to forget doesn't extend out of Europe, fine. But I still stand by my earlier post.)

            I would prefer that if you're going to swear at me, you at least make a point in the process.

            • by Tom (822)

              Well, they seem to be saying that they should be able to have the information removed from the Internet, so perhaps you could explain to me how it's really any different

              Because "right to forget" is a specific legal construction that, aside from the small differences of location, jurisdiction and domain, applies to a specific subset of information in specific circumstances following a specific procedure.

              This case was about denying easy access to an e-commerce entity that has already been found to be in violation of the law. Where "right to forget" is the equivalent of the law telling people to stop putting up posters saying "John is a child rapist!" ten years after he was a

              • Because "right to forget" is a specific legal construction that, aside from the small differences of location, jurisdiction and domain, applies to a specific subset of information in specific circumstances following a specific procedure.

                Except for the part where this specific case in this specific article is specifically talking about blocking it globally, which I have expressed is the specific reason why I'm against it. If it was just Canada, fine. Stay in your own jurisdiction. If that means your enforcement is ineffective, that's not my problem (but I'm repeating old arguments at this point and they haven't convinced you so far, so hey).

                This case was about denying easy access to an e-commerce entity that has already been found to be in violation of the law.

                Hmm...it looks like why the don't just shut them down since they've already been found guilty is for

                • If your main argument is that this ISN'T in fact Right to Forget, I'll concede that point. But my points still stand.

              • by Tom (822)

                telling the phone company to list

                to delist of course, sorry.

    • 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 (

      • 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?

        If people know that the result of their google search might not cover certain aspects of a person, as they know of the "right to be forgotten", then they perhaps pay someone who searches for the information instead of just relying on the google search.

  • by Primate Pete (2773471) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:04AM (#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?
  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:09AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by u38cg (607297)
      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.
      • 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.

    • 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. Fo

    • by ADRA (37398)

      A company that chooses to do business in a country (any country) is required to abide by the laws operating in said country or choose to remove itself from said country. If Google had a gambling arm in say barbedos and the US told them to shut it down, Google would be forced to comply or be forced to remove all business presense from the soverign US. Its as simple as that.

      Now one could argue that the court in this case overreached in terms of what they 'should' have done, but its their right to do so as lon

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:14AM (#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.

    • Thank you, Mr. Canadian Judge

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

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

    • by lexarius (560925)
      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.
      • 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.

      • by swillden (191260)

        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]

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      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.

    • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:37AM (#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.

    • 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?

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

      • by thaylin (555395)
        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?
        • 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.

          • 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 s

    • by c (8461)

      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

      • 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 Goog

        • by c (8461)

          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?

          Generally speaking, if the corporation can demonstrate that it's not possible to implement the law of all countries it operates in, and within any one country it *does* follow the laws of that country, that's good enough.

          The problem is, if you actually read this particular ruling, Google didn't actually demonstrate that. Their ar

    • by CODiNE (27417)

      Looks like it's time for an international body to "kindly" step in and make these kinds of global decisions for everyone. I'm sure several are writing up proposals as we speak.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Slashdot most likely only has a business presense on American soil, so its doubtfull that a foreign nation could lawfully enforce their laws on the company; but they could issue arrest orders for any company employees entering said country if they chose to take such a strict response (or seize any assets they could get their hands on).

  • There goes Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:20AM (#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?

    • by nblender (741424)

      At least we'd have cat photos.

    • by reikae (80981)

      Also there's the fact that one company has the power to expunge whatever they don't like.

      • by ADRA (37398)

        As dominant as they are in the search market, they are not a monopoly, nor do they leverage search as a carrot/stick for other products and services (at least they're in the lines of the law in most jurisdictions).

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Google has the right to do business with any country that they choose, and if they don't want to follow the rule of law in said country, then they can bail out of it, much like what they did with China.

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

  • Just wait. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @08:43AM (#47253595) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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!

  • 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.
    • by mark-t (151149)

      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.

      • by jjo (62046)
        I'm not suggesting that anyone move anywhere. I'm just saying that just as Google pulled out of mainland China to escape an intolerable legal system, it would pull out of Canada if this order were allowed to stand. One presumes that most of the Google Canada employees would look for jobs at other companies in Canada, and that Canadians would switch from google.ca to google.com (or perhaps to google.fr). Everyone would be the poorer for this.
  • ... 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
  • by Rambo Tribble (1273454) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @09:32AM (#47254049)
    Look for "Team Canada, World (Thought) Police" at a theater, (oh, sorry, "theatre"), near you!
  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @09:36AM (#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.
    • by ADRA (37398)

      It would be harder to channel profits back into the hands of root company investors which was much of the 99%'s complaints about corporate tax repatriation, etc.. Anyways, if the parent company owned more than a certain percentage of child company, I believe they fall within the same jurisdictional liability of child company, though I'm not certain how this would work on international levels. Maybe if they had two subsidiaries, one Google Data Inc., the other Google Canada Inc where two subsidiaries fed eac

  • 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".

     

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @11:00AM (#47254919) Journal

    We knew that simple open policies would never stand in the face of governments who seem to have a vested interest in being invasive, provincial, and self-absorbed.

    What I see here is a significant growth in the value of offshore, internationally-neutral server farms.

    That, or Google could 'accidentally' remove all Canadian government link results from its data bases for a couple of months....just to see how they like a proprietary internet up there.

  • be just like Egypt, Iran, Syria, China.....

  • I'll probably get modded down for this, but it looks like this is a case of a judge stretching the law as far as possible to try to enforce an order against some really crappy people. If the plaintiff is correct (AFAIK they are), then the defendants absolutely deserve to get struck from Google's search results. Hell, if they're really bait-and-switching customers, you'd think Google would be pleased as punch to give these guys the finger.

    Look, it's nice to talk in absolute terms about freedom of speech, sov

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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