The Age of the Internet has allowed for instantaneous transfer of ideas, images, videos, texts, news, and anything else that can be represented on a screen. The percentage of people using the Internet around the world has continued to grow, and with its applications seemingly multiplying by the minute, the Internet is having an enormous impact across the globe.
Because of this impact, Internet censorship continues to be a question of implementation in order to control or suppress what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. This can be carried out by governments or even private organizations with permission from the government, regulators, or on their own initiative.
Many argue that Internet censorship should not exist because it goes against the general premise of freedom. And if the Internet were to have such setbacks, there is a looming fear that important ideas would be silenced, ultimately causing individuality to be diminished — brainwashing if you will.
If ideas do not belong to anyone, then taking away ideas limits a person’s freedom. And if government is given this control, they have the ability to protect their reputation by hiding information that could make them look bad. They also have the ability to censor opposing ideals.
China, Iran, and other countries currently already take advantage of Internet censorship, fulling cutting off sections of the Internet. And with the discussion making its way around the globe, Google is fighting back.
On Tuesday, the tech giant went in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that the country’s courts shouldn’t be able to order them to censor links worldwide. This comes after a court in British Columbia followed through with an order from a Canadian company that forced Google to take down search results globally for a company selling counterfeit goods.
Google argues that if a Canadian court wants to block search results in another country, the court should have to acquire a court order against the company in the country in which it’s based. The tech giant has also brought up concerns that mimic those of Canadian privacy experts, who say that having the authority to control search results worldwide is an avenue for silencing freedom of speech online.
Google’s appeal against the initial 2014 ruling by the British Columbia Court of Appeal regards their removal of the links from Canada, but the refusal to delete the links globally.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief in support of Google, calling the British Columbia court’s order forcing Google to block websites from search results a “dangerous precedent for online free expression.”
The EFF noted: “The order issued by the British Columbia (BC) court failed to consider international free expression principles, and in particular, how the order would likely run afoul of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and well-established U.S. Internet policy.”
Should the Canadian Supreme Court side with the BC court’s prior ruling, Canada’s courts will be given a new and substantial global censorship power.