Worldwide Site Blocking Injunction Against Google: Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack

Fresh and interesting article posted on The Vancouver Sun about a unique of its kind worldwide site blocking injunction against Google. More precisely, a Canadian court has ordered Google to completely block a group of websites from its worldwide search results (and not just ""). The ruling was handed down despite Google's protestations that the court has no jurisdiction over Google locally or in the United States.

Happy reading!

"A B.C. Supreme Court decision ordering Google to block a company’s websites from its search engine results around the globe could have even more sweeping implications than Europe’s so-called “right to be forgotten” ruling, according to Internet legal experts.
In the case of Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, the court granted an interim injunction ordering Google to block websites associated with a company selling products in contravention of court orders.

Google is appealing the decision, which was released Friday.

The verdict comes not long after a European Court of Justice ruling compelling Google and other search engines to comply with requests by people to remove links to unflattering or objectionable personal data.

But the B.C. ruling is even more precedent-setting because it covers the blocking of entire websites, not just links to particular posts. And unlike the European ruling, which includes only Europe, the B.C. decision covers all of Google’s search engine activity around the world.

“I don’t know if the court took into account the full potential impact of this when it issued its decision,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. For example, he said the ruling opens the door to the possibility of a country blocking websites from search engine results to quash political dissent online.

“It definitely opens the door to a lot of potentially problematic impacts down the road,” he explained.
Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and ecommerce law at the University of Ottawa, suggested that the ruling could have far-reaching implications.
“The 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 (to) remove Israeli sites from the database?” he posted on his blog.

“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.”
The B.C. case involved Equustek Solutions, a company that makes network devices for the industrial automation industry, which claimed that Datalink Technologies Gateways Inc. and associated defendants used trade secrets to create competing products and used “bait and switch” tactics, delivering their own products when they received orders for Equustek products. The defendants were the subject of several court orders to stop selling the copied product but continued to sell online.
In her ruling, Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon wrote that: “The Court must adapt to the reality of ecommerce with its potential for abuse by those who would take the property of others and sell it through the borderless electronic web of the Internet.

“I conclude that an interim injunction should be granted compelling Google to block the defendants’ websites from Google’s search results worldwide.

“That order is necessary to preserve the Court’s process and to ensure that the defendants cannot continue to flout the Court’s orders.”

Asked for its response, Google emailed a statement saying: “We’re disappointed in this ruling and will appeal this decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeals, B.C.’s highest court.”

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