Google to Kiwis: You Are Flightless Birds, Not Us

July 5, 2019

I read “Google Suspends Trends Email Alerts in New Zealand after Breaching Court Order.” The headline caught my attention. New Zealand? Home of Kim Dotcom. Get away spot for some Silicon Valley Lord of the Rings admirers? A handy place to experience earth tremors.

The write up reminded me:

Google has backed down in a spat with the New Zealand government after its email alert system Trends breached a court order suppressing details of a high-profile murder case. According to Reuters and AFP, Google has suspended its Trends feature in the country following outcry from the New Zealand government.

I can understand Google’s point of view. New Zealand is a mere country and a small one at that. It is far away, and it does not click as much as an important country’s residents.

The hassle surfaced because an automated Google alert named the person who killed another. Stating the alleged killer’s name was a no no. Google ignored that court order.

Google said, “Yo, we’re sorry.” However, Google was not too keen on making changes to its systems because a mere country wanted the US firm to follow the laws of that lesser nation state.

Here’s the nifty part. The write up reported:

New Zealand politicians reacted strongly to this reply, with justice minister Andrew Little accusing Google of “flipping the bird” at the country’s legal system.

What’s the problem with Google (a big virtual country) doing what’s good for itself. Plus, little countries have to be careful because Google has digital firepower and could use it to send a message. Oil embargo? Forget that? How about no email and no Web traffic?

The write up included this statement:

In the UK, for example, politicians have argued that Facebook is incapable of policing “harmful” content on its platform, and needs to be overseen by domestic regulators. In France, Google has been fined millions of dollars for failing to meet EU data privacy laws. And in New Zealand, Facebook was strongly criticized by prime minister Jacinda Ardern for failing to stop the spread of videos of the Christchurch terrorist attacks. “They are the publisher not just the postman,” said Arden in March. “There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility.”

Get real. This is the Google politicians and officials are irritating. What about removing New Zealand and the UK from Google Maps?

If you are not on Google, you don’t exist. Understand?

Stephen E Arnold, July 5, 2019


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