InsightaaS: The Register is a leading global online tech publication, with more than nine million monthly unique browsers worldwide. It combines broad coverage of IT industry news with an informed POV — served at least occasionally with a healthy dollop of tongue-in-cheek humour. In “Canada to Google: You can’t have your borderless cake and eat it too,” The Register reports on a court case in which a Canadian judge ruled that Google must take steps to delete links that contravene Canadian law. The actual subject of the suit (a supplier banned from doing business in Canada by reason of having stolen trade secrets sells via the web in contravention of a court order) is interesting, but more interesting is the variety of internally-inconsistent arguments used by Google’s legal team, and the firm rebuke from the Canadian judge presiding over the suit.
Google-watchers young and old will savour the latest twist in the corporation’s attempts to avoid laws it doesn’t like. It’s a landmark judgment in Canada that’s unusual in several ways – not least for the argument that Google advanced.
The case — Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, presided over by Justice Lauri-Ann Fenlon — was brought by industrial automation equipment and network hardware company Equustek, based Burnaby, Canada. The kit-maker was trying to squash websites selling the products of US company Datalink Technologies Gateways Inc, which it claims were based on trade secrets stolen by former Equustek employees.
Canadian courts have already prohibited Datalink from carrying on business through any website, but, as the judgment points out: “the defendants continue to sell the GW1000 on their websites in violation of these court orders”.
In 2012 ordered Google to remove URLs of websites selling the product, the GW 1000, from its search results on Google.ca, the Canadian face of Google. This proved ineffective, as despite the ad giant’s voluntary blocking of 345 named websites, the distributors simply generated new URLs and continued to sell the product.
Google at first argued that Canadian law didn’t apply to it…