The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Wednesday that Google must remove some search results from its worldwide service to enforce a Canadian court decision. According to the top court ruling:
The Internet has no borders - its natural habitat is global. The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates - globally.
The decision is related to an intellectual property case in which Canadian telecommunications equipment manufacturer Equustek Solutions sued another Canadian business, Datalink, for reselling its products as their own. In the original lower court decision, Google was required to de-index 345 webpages associated with Datalink's offerings in Canada, which the search giant complied.
But following the first decision, Datalink fled Canada and continued its practices from somewhere else, this led Equustek Solutions to request Google to de-index all webpages associated with the offending company worldwide, which Google denied, citing freedom of speech concerns.
The case was then taken to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that Google must also comply with the more embracing request from Equustek Solutions because "without the injective relief, it was clear that Google would continue to facilitate that ongoing harm".
Canada's top court decision has alarmed free-speech organizations worldwide. As stated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Wednesday:
In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether the targeted material or site is lawful in another country.
Google cannot appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision, but the company can still petition the lower court from which the case originated to modify its request for the worldwide ban of Datalink's websites. At the time of this writing, Google hasn't filled out such a request.