The Herald reports:
Tech giant Google is under fire for “thumbing its nose” at the courts by refusing to take down online content which breaches court orders.
In high-profile cases covered by the Herald in recent months, Google NZ along with New Zealand’s major media outlets have been served with orders which suppress details and require the removal of content that infringes on privacy or fair trial rights.
However, Google says it’s “not in the business of censoring news” and won’t comply because its search engine is bound by the laws enforced at its home, the Googleplex, in California’s Silicon Valley.
The result means some information suppressed by New Zealand’s courts can be revealed in a Google search.
The problem with demanding that Google be bound by NZ law, is you are also effectively demanding it be bound by Iranian law, Zimbabwe law and North Korean law. It becomes lowest common denominator.
However, despite having an Auckland office, Google NZ said it couldn’t remove details of the stories from its searchable records.
In an affidavit to the court, Google NZ software engineer Joseph Bailey, wrote: “Google New Zealand Limited has no ability to comply with the interim orders.”
He explained that the Google search engine, Google LLC, was a separate legal entity incorporated in the US, meaning New Zealand’s courts and laws held no power over it.
Google NZ is basically a sales office. It has no say on how Google operates in NZ.