Google v Equustek involves a legal challenge to an extraterritorial order from a Canadian court. EFF intervened in the case after a trial court ruled in June that Google must remove links to full websites that contained pages selling a product that allegedly infringed trade secret rights. The injunction not only applied to Google’s Canada-specific search, Google.ca, but to all of its searches around the world. Google had offered to remove 345 URLs but would not block the entire category of websites, because they contained pages that “may be used for any number of innocent purposes.”
Such a broad injunction sets a dangerous precedent, especially given that it is likely to conflict with the laws of other nations. In its brief, EFF explains that the trial court’s injunction decision is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution and would be considered an improper “mandatory injunction” under case law in California, where Google is based. By blocking entire websites, Canadian courts potentially censor innocent content that U.S. Internet users have a constitutional right to receive.