One day after the European Union slapped a record fine on Google, Canada's Supreme Court added to the company's growing list of legal and regulatory setbacks.
In upholding a lower ruling in British Columbia, the court ruled 7-2 that Google must remove certain website listings from its search results — not only in Canada but everywhere it operates.
The decision came even though Google had volunteered to remove over 300 websites from its listings after one Canadian company, named Equustek Solutions, won a default judgment against another firm there, Datalink Technology Gateways, for allegedly misappropriating its products and trade secrets.
The sweeping ruling was alarming not just for Google parent Alphabet but for U.S. free-speech groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which said it was at odds with the U.S. Constitution and "has troubling implications for free expression online."
And the potentially-onerous decision, like the $2.7 billion EU fine, was not the only bad news for the U.S. internet giant this month.
In just the past two weeks, Google has had to respond to increased pressure on everything from privacy to terrorism by:
- Creating a four-point plan for keeping terrorist content off its YouTube video service;
- Agreeing to remove private medical records from search results;
- No longer scanning Gmail content for the purpose of serving targeted ads next to emails (although it's still placing ads based on other data;)
- And saying YouTube would join Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft in the new Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.
In reply to an email seeking comment on the Canadian ruling, Google said "we are carefully reviewing the court's findings and evaluating our next steps."
Perhaps most ominously, the EU regulator who slapped it with the $2.7 billion fine for favoring its comparison-shopping service, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, is not close to done with Google.