Tuesday Hearing in Case With Potentially Significant Implications for Free Speech
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will tell Canada’s highest court that an overbroad court order that censors Google search results for users everywhere violates our rights to freely search the web without government interference.
The court is hearing arguments in Google v. Equustek, a trade secret case in which a British Columbia court issued an order forcing Google to block certain websites from its search results around the world, setting a dangerous precedent for online free expression. Equustek Solutions sued a group of defendants for allegedly misappropriating designs for its routers and selling counterfeit routers online. While Google isn’t a party to the case and had done nothing wrong, Equustek obtained a court order telling the search engine company it must delete search results that directed users to the defendants’ websites, not just in Canada but from all other local domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. EFF filed a brief in the case siding with Google.
Journalists and activists have excoriated Google for wiping Palestine completely off its map app, depicting the entire occupied Palestinian territories as part of the Israel, pan–Latin American satellite television network TeleSUR reported on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum initiated an online campaign to pressure the internet giant to reconsider its stance. The organization accused Google of being “part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”
“The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the statement continued.
On July 27 Internet giant Google renamed a number of towns, villages, and settlements in Crimea—a peninsula in Ukraine that has been under Russian control since early 2014—on their Google Maps service. The change came after the Ukrainian parliament altered the names of 70 geographic locations in Crimea in accordance with its “decommunization” campaign in May 2016.
Users of the Russian and Ukrainian versions of Google Maps noticed the differences immediately. For instance, according to a report by Meduza news website, the town of Krasnoperekopsk became “Yany Kapu,” Sovetskoe turned into “Ichki,” and Kirovskoe was changed to “Islyam-Terek.” Many of the new names have Crimean Tatar origin or other historic roots, replacing the Soviet-era variants.
Project Tango will be using smartphones to create a 3D map of the whole world, capturing the interiors of buildings down to a resolution of a few inches.
Mapping the world
You know, sometimes one can’t be faulted for thinking that Google likes to dream some pretty big dreams.
But to be fair, Google Maps has accomplished many extraordinary tasks over the years, having mapped the world and put that information in our fingertips. That might sound like a feat that’s pretty difficult to top, but Google is planning something even bigger.