A US judge has partially blocked a recent decision by Canada’s Supreme Court that required Google to delete search results not just in Canada, but in every other country. “Citing the Canadian court’s ruling as a violation of American laws as well as a threat to speech, US District Judge Edward Davila granted Google a temporary injunction letting the company show the search results in the US,” Fortune reported late on Friday. The judge stated that Google clearly qualified for the Section 230 protection and that holding it liable for search results (which are automatically generated based on others’ websites) would wrongly treat the company as a publisher.
The Section 230 ensures that online platforms cannot be held liable for what their users post. Based on the findings, Davila said he did not need to decide the First Amendment question, though he did note the Canadian ruling had free speech implications: “By forcing intermediaries to remove links to third-party material, the Canadian order undermines the policy goals of Section 230 and threatens free speech on the global internet,” Fortune quoted the decision as saying. Now, if Google restores the search results in the US, it would be going against the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision.
Currently, there are over 300 search results Google has had to suppress. In a decision in June, Canada Supreme Court agreed by a 7-2 margin to leave the injunction in place. Meanwhile, Google has sought to stop the Canadian decision from applying in the US, arguing it violated the First Amendment as well as the (Section 230).