Google – and arguably free speech – has suffered another “memory hole” setback in its Canadian wrangle with kit vendor Equustek Solutions, and in response has begun taking down links well beyond Canada where the court case is taking place.
As we reported in June, the court battle involves Google only incidentally. Equustek's main gripe with with a company called Datalink Technologies Gateways, which it says is building products using trade secrets stolen by former Equustek staff.
As part of that case, Google had been ordered to remove URLs selling the “GW 1000” from its search index. Google had appealed against the judgement, was rebuffed in the June judgement linked above, and launched an appeal.
In the process of appealing, Google asked the Court of Appeal for British Columbia for an interim stay against the June order that it take down the offending links.
The court has declined Google's request, saying that “the applicant is unable to demonstrate irreparable harm is likely to be incurred pending the hearing of the appeal”.
The court also rejected Google's assertion that complying with the order would damage the search engine's reputation: “In my view, I should not give any weight to the argument that Google’s reputation will suffer if it acts in accordance with the rule of law,” the judgement from Justice Willcock states.
As Gigaom notes, Google has already begun removing links from US search. The Register can confirm that the following notice also appears on Australian searches for “GW 1000”:
“In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 3 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org.” ®