After a decision on Wednesday June 28th, courts in Canada may now have the authority to issue temporary injunctions with a global reach. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google in a 7-2 decision, requiring the search engine to remove search results involving a misused trademark from all variations of the search engine, not simply the Canadian Google results. (1) Previously, censoring results has been completed using only a specific country's variation of a webpage, such as a ".de" version of Google. However now, based on this highly controversial ruling Canada may have the power to enforce censorship across every country specific variation of Google.
Supporters of the ruling place emphasis on the newfound ability to protect content creators worldwide, reaching beyond the country-specific web addresses and allowing creators to crack down on improper usage of their materials. (2)
Opposition to the ruling quickly arose due to the censorship and freedom of speech implications of controlling content across national borders. Some individuals fear that because of this Canadian ruling, in the future they may be subject to the laws of other countries simply through their own use of the internet. Examples of censorship laws that could have a dramatic impact if imposed globally include, the anti-hate laws in Germany that force social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube to delete content flagged by users as hate speech, or blasphemy laws in Thailand. (3)
This controversial decision for the Canadian courts coincides with "right to be forgotten" regulations in Europe, in which the European Union may force internet search engines to delete search results upon request. (4) Although "right to be forgotten" regulations are not scheduled for enforcement until 2018, both the direction of European legislation and the new ruling in Canada indicate future issues in global jurisdiction and internet censorship. (5)