Friday, June 20, 2014

Canadian provincial supreme court (British Columbia) orders worldwide removal of search engine results about an illegal competitor

A provincial supreme court in British Columbia, Canada has ordered Google to remove from its search results all links  The case is Equustek Solutions et al. v. Jack.  Electronic Frontier Foundation has a detailed story about the case today (June 20) by Maira Sutton, “Canadian court to the entire world: No links for you!”,  link here The case apparently involved an unscrupulous competitor who might have stolen trade secrets benefitting from search engine results that seemed to lead to possibly illegal products (the concept couple apply in copyright, trademark, patent, counterfeit, and trade secrets contexts, anything that could make a competitor’s product illegal). 
What was so disturbing here was that the judge ordered the removal of certain links worldwide.  In the past, countries have not been able to make orders against technology companies effective outside their own borders (or sometimes outside trade units like the European Union).   It would sound very unlikely to an average Internet reader that it a Canadian province could order this, or that an individual US state could do this, if a whole country could not.  This is obviously a developing story that will need more attention quickly.

The judge mentioned the European decision (on the case in Spain) about the “right to be forgotten” (May 13, 2014 posting).  

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