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Google Canada The Courts

Google Must Delete Search Results Worldwide, Supreme Court of Canada Rules (fortune.com) 271

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google on Wednesday in a closely-watched intellectual property case over whether judges can apply their own country's laws to all of the internet. From a report: In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too. Those siding with Google, including civil liberties groups, had warned that allowing the injunction would harm free speech, setting a precedent to let any judge anywhere order a global ban on what appears on search engines. The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical." "This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values, it is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders. We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods," wrote Judge Rosalie Abella.
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Google Must Delete Search Results Worldwide, Supreme Court of Canada Rules

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  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @02:48PM (#54706481)
    Google should delete all references to Canada. Wipe them off the face of the map. Blame Canada!
    • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @02:52PM (#54706541) Homepage

      Blame who?

    • Because the US is the only country that can enforce its laws worldwide, such as the FATCA nonsense that prevents Americans working overseas from doing ordinary banking business. I'd like to see the Canadians try executing a special forces raid on a file downloader in New Zealand.

      • If the US is so powerful, why is the fat slob still in New Zealand?
        Can't they even extradite one person from a tiny little country like New Zealand?

      • by sabri ( 584428 )

        Because the US is the only country that can enforce its laws worldwide, such as the FATCA nonsense that prevents Americans working overseas from doing ordinary banking business.

        Not true. The bank must comply with IRS reporting regulations when dealing with U.S. persons, that's it. Nothing prevents any bank from dealing with U.S. persons. Also, if the bank does not have any business in the U.S., they cannot enforce their rules.

    • A vulnerability is found, update your system. How is that news?

      As fun as that would be, without completely pulling out of the country all that will result in is an antitrust suit.

    • Couldn't Google get a NAFTA Tribunal to challenge Canada's Supreme Court ruling? Google would probably win. Then Canada would have to compensate, maybe even overcompensate for the resulting loss of revenue for all that deleting.
  • Horrifying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @02:50PM (#54706505) Homepage

    This is quite horrifying. If Canada thinks that Canadian courts can order Google to delete results everywhere in the world, then the same argument says Chinese courts can order Google to delete results everywhere in the world.

    • Google is also free to stop doing business in Canada.

      • While that may be true, why are you okay with that being their only choice?

        • It's not. They can also comply.

          Anyways it's not as if trade marks were not protected in most other countries.

          • Canada's attempt to unilaterally impose its own laws in other countries is in no way similar to trademarks, which are protected by mutual agreements enforced via treaties between nations.

            Canada has no basis for enforcing rulings beyond its jurisdiction, so Google has no obligation to comply with the Hobson's choice you've outlined.

            • It's not an attempt to impose laws to other countries. It's a side-effect.

              Read TFA. It's a trademark / intellectual property issue. Courts in other countries would end up all saying the same if the company had the money and time to sue in every country.

              • Courts in other countries would end up all saying the same if the company had the money and time to sue in every country.

                A) No, they wouldn't. This exact sort of issue has been going through courts around the world, with different outcomes in different jurisdictions. Some hold that search listings are themselves infringing on IP rights, others hold that search listings are protected as free speech, and others land somewhere in the middle.

                B) Even if what you said were true, that isn't a valid excuse for skipping due process in those other countries. Trademarks may be recognized internationally, but it's still the responsibilit

                • No, they wouldn't. This exact sort of issue has been going through courts around the world, with different outcomes in different jurisdictions

                  Courts around the world would all (except corrupt ones) would all acknowledge the obvious trademark violation.
                  I agree, however, that not all of them would say Google is also illegal by listing/indexing/caching the trademark violator.

                  Whether they intended it or not doesn't matter.

                  It does. Before you say "fuck Canada, who do you think you are?", you should consider the intent of the court.

                  What matters is that they specifically demanded a global extent to their ruling, meaning that the ruling goes well beyond their authority as a national court.

                  And Google could say they deleted the listings. As long as there is no way to access those listings from Canada, they would be compliant. The problem is, there is no way

                  • Re:Horrifying (Score:5, Informative)

                    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @06:13PM (#54708309)

                    Google could say they deleted the listings. As long as there is no way to access those listings from Canada, they would be compliant.

                    Not true. Read the article. It specifically says that for Google to comply, they need to de-index the listing globally. The court was very specific in how Google was to implement the injunction against it.

                    you should consider the intent of the court.

                    For the sake of argument let's consider it. Straight from the horse's mouth [lexum.com], the stated purpose of the case was to decide...

                    Whether Google can be ordered [...] to globally de-index websites of distributor [...] — Whether Supreme Court of British Columbia had jurisdiction to grant injunction with extraterritorial effect

                    In other words, they explicitly set out to rule on whether the injunction against Google could apply "extraterritorially" (i.e. beyond the court's authority), and they decided that it could. There was nothing accidental or incidental about the ruling applying internationally. It was neither the side effect you've claimed it was, nor, as you just suggested, was it left to Google to choose how to implement the injunction against them.

                    Does the fact that they made it clear they knew they were imposing their laws outside their borders have any effect on your thinking?

          • by flink ( 18449 )

            Replace Canada with Saudi Arabia and copyright infringement with blasphemy and see if you are still complacent with this decision.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by c ( 8461 )

      They're not ordering Google to delete results everywhere in the world; just on systems under their control. Which ends up being on the exact same servers they deleted the results for Canada (since google.ca and google.com are the same systems).

      They put themselves under Canadian legal jurisdiction, so they can obey the order or they can leave. Which, IIRC, is what they did with China.

      I'm not sure it's the best ruling, but short of lobbying the government to change the laws they're not going to change the res

      • Re:Horrifying (Score:5, Informative)

        by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @05:40PM (#54708031)

        They're not ordering Google to delete results everywhere in the world; just on systems under their control. Which ends up being on the exact same servers they deleted the results for Canada (since google.ca and google.com are the same systems).

        This is precisely what is not happening. Google is in fact being ordered to delete the search results in all their servers, worldwide, not just on the servers that serve Canada (which just about everyone agrees falls within Canada's legal authority). That is, in fact, the entire point of the news story. I can understand not reading the story, but not even reading the headline? Even for slashdot that's impressive.

        Anyways, yes, the news story is correct: Canada is claiming the power to order Google to globally de-index web sites in response to a court order.

        • by c ( 8461 )

          Google is in fact being ordered to delete the search results in all their servers, worldwide, not just on the servers that serve Canada

          It's the same servers.

          This has come up before with this case in the lower court decisions. Google applied the filtering for Google.ca on all their search servers, including those that handle Google.com; generally speaking, Google's search servers don't exist separately for each country (the setup they had with China might be the only exception), they just have a bunch of ext

    • If Canada thinks that Canadian courts can order Google to delete results everywhere in the world, then the same argument says Chinese courts can order Google to delete results everywhere in the world.

      That's a reason many global corporations use national subordinate companies, and the global umbrella serves as a shell.

      The Canadian subordinate follows Canadian laws, the US subordinate follows US laws, the others in Germany and France and Spain and other nations all follow their own respective laws, and we all get along nicely.

      The borderless Internet certainly complicates legal matters. Whatever the activity, some aspect of it is probably illegal somewhere in the world.

      • Yep, Google's been too late to learn the power of not putting everything under one monolithic company. They only recently made some basic divisions under Alphabet in an attempt to skirt EU antitrust laws (unsuccessfully).

        • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 )

          Is that way that happened a couple years ago?

          It always puzzled me that the shareholders didn't put up more of a stink about it since it looked like it was going to lead to a dilution of value. The brand of Google being broken up and made a subsidiary with the additional non-voting stock being delivered to help cover that.

    • Re:Horrifying (Score:5, Interesting)

      by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @03:14PM (#54706715)
      The USA already enforces its laws on the RoW, so it's reasonable for any other country to do the same.

      The US decided on its own that any data which touches american soil is subject to american laws. This has been tested in the financial world where transactions that were legal in the country they took place were "bounced" in and out of the USA and the yanks deemed that they therefore were subject to their laws, which did not allow that activity to be legal.

      The individuals in question were extradited to the US, and such is the extreme cost to defendants to produce witnesses and to support a lawsuit - esp. against the federal government and even more so when all those witnesses are from another country (and therefore have to be transported and accommodated at the defendants' expense for the duration of the trial), that they were unable to defend themselves and had to plea bargain a jail sentence.

      Look up the Natwest three
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • There is one big difference compared to the US though in that the Attorney-General of Canada [theglobeandmail.com] was arguing AGAINST the court granting this injunction for all the reasons about territorial jurisdiction being discussed here (see the last paragraph of the article). It's still a bad decision but at least our government understands and, since they write the laws this might get fixed.
      • The USA already enforces its laws on the RoW, so it's reasonable for any other country to do the same.

        No. It's reasonable for other countries to also reject the US's attempts to enforce its laws on their soil. Or, as my mom taught me when I was little "Two wrongs don't make a right".

      • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @09:19PM (#54709275) Homepage Journal

        It's a temporary restraining order against a company that fled BC to, perhaps, France, and is selling stolen networking technology. It's not an attempt to censor someone's opinions, but to hunt down a thief.

        There is tons of non-puff-pirce commentary, though:

        and also two dissenting opinions from the judges in the case, available to everyone at https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/s... [canlii.org] where they question how long it should apply.

        I'm also pleased to note that one of the first steps cited by the court, in 2017 scc 34, was an injunction "issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordering D to cease operating or carrying on business through any website."

        This is a great improvement, IMHO, over cases in the EU where Google was ordered to cease indexing sites which were not similarly ordered to cease their actions.

        --dave

    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      Yeah, it's like they think they're the United States or something.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's up to us to work around this. We need unfiltered search engines that answer to no authority, instead of all this bickering on who has what rights.

  • Jurisdiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcle ( 1575627 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @02:53PM (#54706545)

    It would seem Canada's court is claiming global jurisdiction. I think quite a few governments would have a problem with that.

  • Google needs to move all of its servers out of Canada and leave completely because this shit is no good for anyone. The Canadian Supreme Court just fucked up big time.

    • I bet they want to continue sell ads in Canada.

    • I doubt they see it that way.... I also doubt Google sees it that way either... It's likely Google will comply for all the services they provide within the country.

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        If you actually read the summary, Google had no problem complying with the order within the country, the problem was the "worldwide" part of the order.

        So does google try to enforce every decision by every court from every country on the whole world? if so, they are likely to very quickly run in to contradictory orders, and even if they avoid that, they'll run in to a situation where some dictatorship wants to shut down large swaths of the internet worldwide, should google do that?

        This is a decision that was

    • There's no need to be so extreme. Google, if they haven't done so already, simply needs to break itself up into national subsidiaries. Each subsidiary serves search results only to and within its political boundary, and is structured such that it can't influence, access, or control any other subdivision.

      This is a rough sketch, but the general principle should work to solve the problem of overreaching countries.

  • ... with about 28,000,000 results of "bite me" in 0.82 seconds.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @03:12PM (#54706693)

    The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical." "This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values, it is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders. We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods," wrote Judge Rosalie Abella.

    So Canada agrees with the U.S. that Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs to Americans should be de-indexed from Google worldwide.

    Whether this is a free speech or an illegal trade is irrelevant and a straw man. The key issue is whether another country can apply their laws in your country. Maybe considering a case with Canada on the benefiting end of the "illegal" trade might give the judges some perspective.

    • So Canada agrees with the U.S. that Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs to Americans should be de-indexed from Google worldwide.

      Are the drugs being sold to Americans traveling to Canada? If so, it's not illegal.

      The key issue is whether another country can apply their laws in your country

      No, the key issue is whether Google can obey the judgment by another mean than de-indexing world wide.
      Only de-indexing from google.ca is not enough if google.com is still accessible from Canada and Google continues to do business in Canada.

      • Are the drugs being sold to Americans traveling to Canada? If so, it's not illegal.

        How do these Americans know where to buy these drugs? If they're being advertised to people in America, that's sure as hell illegal.

        • Are the drugs being sold to Americans traveling to Canada? If so, it's not illegal.

          How do these Americans know where to buy these drugs?

          Friends, family, traveled to Canada and discovered drugs are cheaper.
          Were you thinking Canadian drug stores were advertising on US TV to tell US-Americans to travel to Canada to buy cheaper drugs?
          And even if it was the case, the advertising might not be illegal under US law, so there wouldn't even be a problem.

    • by c ( 8461 )

      So Canada agrees with the U.S. that Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs to Americans should be de-indexed from Google worldwide.

      If a US court, or congress, orders it, then yes.

      Being a multi-national corporation with a business presence all over the world sometimes puts them in touch positions.

  • You have no extraterritorial jurisdiction, you hosers! Fuck off, eh?

    -jcr

  • The point is not whether this ban threatens free speech, it's if one country can demand a global ban. If Google complies with this, what's to stop say Saudia-Arabia for demanding gay porn be delisted from Google world-wide? If Canada can force Google to delist sites from Google Saudi-Arabia, then Saudi-Arabia can force Google to delist sites from Google Canada. How can they not see that this sword cuts both ways?

  • ..that the US is not the only country with moronic judges.

  • One thing is to force Google from taking webpages that deals on piracy in Canada.
    Another thing is to make the spurious presumption that the supreme court of any given country is able to enforce it's decisions for the rest of the world, which it so obviously cannot as it does not have the jurisdiction to do so.
    What kinda quack judges are those not to understand such a simple thing?

  • by swm ( 171547 ) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @03:45PM (#54706973) Homepage

    Google Must Delete Blasphemy Worldwide, Supreme Court of Sumeria Rules

    The Sumerian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical." "This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values, it is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders. We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of blasphemy against the most terrible name of Gozer (all cower in her presence)," wrote Judge Vinz Clortho.

  • For any country to think they can force their political views on a company operating out of another country. I wonder, if Google has no Canadian offices, no Canadian employees, what, if anything, can Canada actually DO to enforce this ruling? Can't Google ignore the ruling? Wouldn't some Libertarians argue they have a moral obligation to ignore the ruling? (since it obviously infringes on the freedom of speech, and negatively effects Googles customers)
  • Sorry.

    I'm not sure what's possessed our supreme court on this one. This is a clear violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Hopefully our government will correct the decision through legislation.

  • so they usually side with property. If you want them to side with people you have to pass laws.
    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Problem there being that politicians also come from property, so they usually side with property. If you want them to side with people you have to.... ummmmm.... yeah... there's the problem.

  • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @03:59PM (#54707085) Homepage

    Religions other than Islam are illegal in Saudi Arabia. If a Saudi Arabian court rules that "illegal" Christian/Jewish/Buddhist websites should be deindexed worldwide, surely Google would not respect that. What makes this case any different?

  • Canadian law professor Michael Geist asks:
    "Google will obviously abide the ruling, but as I noted last year, what happens if a Chinese court orders it to remove Taiwanese sites from the index? Or if an Iranian court orders it to remove gay and lesbian sites from the index?"

    In-freaking-deed what?

    As a Canadian, I find this court ruling, well, sucks.
    • Nice comment, but it's not the court duty to care about "what if" scenarios from other courts across the globe.

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        No, why would a court ever think about the consequences of their rulings? That would be CRAZY!

  • This will only create a vacuum.

    I bet there will soon be a whole host of .ca sites with tag lines like, "what google cant show you", "forbidden links", "unburned index"

    Time to register some domains...

  • The simpler and better solution is for Google to temporarily delete Canada from it's search results for one week (but don't tell Canada when it will be reinstated). The economic loss to Canada will be so great the current administration will crumble. Cooler heads will rise from the rubble. Other countries will take heed and stop this nonsense of trying to apply their domestic laws internationally.

  • Haven't seen anyone commenting as if they have read the article yet. The company being removed was caught buying products, slapping their name on it, and reselling those products. The web pages in question are all directly related to THAT issue, but were lingering around cuz of the way the Internet works. That caused a continuing detrimental effect on the original manufacturer. The courts have simply said to remove those lingering links. This is a much narrower application of law than the typical "free
    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      So in other words you think jurisdictional overreach is just fine, as long as it's on an issue you personally agree with.
      Unfortunately legal precedents don't work that way, the next judge won't check with you before using this precedent to see if you happen to agree with the case they're trying at the time.

      The precedent here is that any court, anywhere in the world, can censor anything worldwide.

      It doesn't matter what it is, this won't be limited to trademark disputes. In fact, the order specifically talks

  • If Google simply stopped answering requests from any Canadian IP address, wouldn't that accomplish the intent of the injunction?

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      No it wouldn't. They offered to stop serving this content in Canada, but the court said that wasn't enough, the court insisted it must be worldwide.

  • Cant they delete the results from google.ca and let Canada block google.com from their citizens? That's what happens in China. China and Canada even start and end with the same letters. Maybe Colombia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Croatia and Czechia could get on board too

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      That would have been the smart decision. But it wasn't what the court ordered. They specifically stated that wasn't good enough, the content had to be deleted worldwide, not just in Canada.

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