Google Claims a Court Ruling will Make Them Act as Something They Already Are, A Censor

Irony is a funny thing especially when it is so blatantly obvious as in our example today. Google, owners of YouTube, Adsense and many other internet properties. Google has a history of policing content they do not agree with going so far as to demonetize and even ban differing options on topics such as the US 2nd amendment and de-prioritizing searches for topics that run counter to their viewpoint.

That has not stopped them from filing an appeal with Australia’s High Court asking them to overturn a ruling made against them in 2020. The judgment forced Google to remove links to a particular article related to a lawyer who represented individuals implicated in a series of killings in Melbourne. The lawyer in question was the subject of an article that referenced charges that were brought against him related to three deaths. The charges were dropped, and the lawyer asked for the links to the article to be removed as he felt the article defamed him.

Google, of course, refused and a suit was filed where the lawyer, George Defteros came out the victor. The grounds for the victory were that both the article and Google’s refusal to remove the links constituted defamation.

No Google is saying that if they are forced to remove the link to the article they will be forced to “act as a censor”. Furthermore, they claim that this ruling will make them “liable as the publisher of any matter published on the web to which its search results provide a hyperlink,” What is the most humorous in this is that they are doing this already. They remove links every day and show this on their transparency site. Regardless of the credibility of the publication, Google already acts and has acted as a censor of content. The use of this as a defense for their position is ludicrous.

Google cannot have it both ways, they cannot remove legal content they disagree with due to politics of whatever and claim they should not be forced to remove content that is clearly defamatory. This one will be interesting to watch as, in its own way, it represents a trend that needs to be addressed. Google should not get to be the arbiter of truth or content. If they want to claim safe harbor from liability, then they need to not remove any content if it does not violate the actual laws of the country where it is published. This trend by Big Tech groups towards digital authoritarianism is a dangerous one and one that we all should be mindful of.

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