Canadian courts can force Internet search leader Google to remove results worldwide, the country’s top court ruled on Wednesday, drawing criticism from civil liberties groups arguing such a move sets a precedent for censorship on the Internet.
In its 7-2 decision, Canada’s Supreme Court found that a court in the country can grant an injunction preventing conduct anywhere in the world when it is necessary to ensure the injunction’s effectiveness.
“The Internet has no borders – its natural habitat is global,” the Supreme Court wrote in its judgment. “The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates – globally.”
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc
The case stems from claims by Equustek Solutions, a small technology company in British Columbia that manufactures network devices, that distributor Datalink Technologies Gateways relabeled one of its products and sold it as its own online and acquired trade secrets to design and manufacture a competing product.
In 2012, Equustek asked Google to remove Datalink search results until the case against the company was resolved. While Google removed over 300 specific web pages associated with Datalink, it did so only on the Canadian version of its search engine.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia subsequently ordered Google to stop displaying search results in any country for any part of Datalink’s websites.
In its appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada, Google had argued that the global reach of the…