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Canadian Court Forces Google to Delist Websites Worldwide

A few days ago, the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued an order requiring Google to remove websites from its worldwide index in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack.  The dispute involved links to the website of a company that had been found to have stolen trade secrets from a competitor and used unfair competition tactics to lure customers into purchasing the copied products. The court order is unprecedented for Canada as it forces Google to remove links anywhere in the world, rather than only from the search results available through Google.ca.

Commenting on the international ramifications of this decision and the consequences for freedom of expression worldwide, Micheal Geist noted: "[t]he implications are enormous since if a Canadian court has the power to limit access to information for the globe, presumably other courts would as well. While the court does not grapple with this possibility, what happens if a Russian court orders Google to remove gay and lesbian sites from its database? Or if Iran orders it remove Israeli sites from the database? The possibilities are endless since local rules of freedom of expression often differ from country to country. Yet the B.C. court adopts the view that it can issue an order with global effect."

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