Today the Canadian Supreme Court ordered Google to remove search results that the Court doesn’t feel should be present. The court demands that Google remove those results not just for Canadian users, but for the entire planet. That’s right, Canada has declared itself a global Google censor.
I’ve been predicting for many years this move toward global censorship imposed by domestic governments. I suspected all along that attempts by Google to mollify government censorship demands through the use of geoblocking would never satisfy countries that have the sweet taste of censorship already in their authoritarian mouths — no matter if they’re ostensibly democracies or not. Censorship is like an addictive drug to governments — once they get the nose of the censorship camel under the tent, the whole camel will almost always follow in short order.
The EU has been pushing in the global censorship direction for ages with their awful “Right To Be Forgotten.” Countries like France, China, and Russia have been even more explicit regarding their desires for worldwide censorship powers. And frankly, it’s likely that nearly every nation will begin making the same sorts of demands once the snowball is really rolling — even here in the USA if politicians and courts can devise practical end runs around the First Amendment.
The ramifications are utterly clear. It’s a horrific race to the lowest common denominator bottom of censorship, with ever escalating demands for global removal of materials that any given government finds objectionable or simply inconvenient to the current president, or prime minister, or king, or whomever.
Ultimately, the end result is likely to be vast numbers of Google Searches that return nothing but blank white pages no matter where in the world that you reside.
My dream solution to such global censorship demands would be cutting off those countries from associated Google services. With enough righteous indignation, perhaps we could get Facebook, Twitter, and other major platforms to join the club.
I tend to doubt that these firms would have too much to worry about from a financial standpoint in this regard. The perhaps billions of users suddenly cut off from Google Search and their daily fixes of social media are unlikely to tolerate the situation for very long.
Short of this approach, there are other possible ways to fight back against global censorship. Feel free to ask me about them.
I’ve actually gone into much more detail about all of this in those many past posts that I alluded to above, and I’m not going to try dig out the numerous links for them here. Stuff my name into the Google Search bar along with terms like “censorship” or “right to be forgotten” and you’ll get a plethora of relevant results.
That is, until some government orders those search results to be removed globally from Google.
Be seeing you. I hope.