The Risks of Allowing Internet Censorship

June 25, 2014

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Google to remove information from the internet, reports Zach Graves for R Street.

The Canadian case involves the sale of counterfeit products, but it is similar to a ruling by the European Court of Justice last month, which ruled that search engines could be required to remove links that infringe upon a person's privacy rights.

The decisions are distinct, but both have a wide reach:

  • The European decision applies even to factual information in the public record.
  • Unlike the European decision, the Canadian decision applies beyond Canadian sites, requiring Google to remove information that can be assessed from anywhere in the world.

The ruling, writes Graves, leads to some important questions. What if a ruling in one country conflicts with another? He notes that China, Korea and Russia are already pursuing ways to possibly censor the Internet.

People depend on search engines for information, and allowing a country to set restrictions on the type of information available on the internet is concerning.   

Source: Zach Graves, "The Dangerous Proliferation of the 'Right to be Forgotten'," R Street, June 18, 2014.

 

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