Top European Court To Consider If EU Countries Can Censor The Global Internet

from the it's-spreading... dept

Last month we wrote about the tragic and hugely problematic ruling in Canada that said a Canadian court could order global censorship of content it deems to be illegal. As lots of people pointed out, that is going to have dangerous consequences for speech around the world. If you accept that Canada can censor the global internet, what’s to stop China, Iran or Russia from claiming the same rights?

And now we’ll get to find out if the EU similarly believes in the ability of one country to demand global censorship online. In another case that we’ve been following, French data protection officials had been demanding Google censor content globally, and Google had been refusing. Now, the issue has been sent to the EU Court of Justice, the very same court who created this mess three years ago in saying that Google was subject to “right to be forgotten” claims. Google had reasonably interpreted the law to just apply in the EU (where the jurisdiction existed). But now the same court will decide if EU officials can censor globally.

One hopes that the sheer absurdity of the situation may lead the CJEU to start to recognize just how problematic its ruling was back in 2014, but somehow, that’s unlikely. We’ll certainly be paying attention to this case…

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Top European Court To Consider If EU Countries Can Censor The Global Internet”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If the answer is yes they still need other countries to not laugh in their faces and effectively allow foreign powers to dictate their laws.
And it being the internet, globally connected and all, it really only takes one country shunning these rulings to keep content online. After that, I guess outright censorship is the only way to go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Matter of time....

The dark web will become the real internet that is used by everyone

Not likely in its current form. An onion service is still using the normal client/server model; it has an operator, and that operator can be sued/charged if identified–or forced to remove stories/comments. But one could imagine a decentralized Techdirt-like service where stories can’t be "unpublished" and commenting happens without any involvement from the site operators (so we’d need decentralized moderation too, to block spam).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Matter of time....

What you are describing sounds a lot like the old, and still extant, Usenet. Such a system has a disadvantage as far as most people are concerned, conversation can become a bit disjointed, (the threading can differ on different nodes, and it takes time for a post to wend its way to all nodes) and are usually carried out at a more leisurely pace.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Matter of time....

The dark web will become the real internet

What do you mean by real Internet?

The web and search-engine indexed sites are a subset of the Internet, not ‘the’ Internet or the ‘real’ Internet.

The Internet existed before search engines and the web. Those are just newer services that exist on top of the existing Internet and only apply to a relatively small portion.

All the ‘dark-web’ is is web sites that are not indexed on the commonly available search engines and/or that do not use the standard ICANN DNS root zones. There are many sites out there that don’t use any DNS at all (so you need to know the IP Address) or that use alternative root DNS systems.

Dark Web is a news or authoritarian scare term for what is, in fact, most of the Internet.

Parallel Construction says:

Parallel Construction

It’s all just parallel construction guys, you will learn soon. It’s a global conspiracy by the top agency the illuminati. Who do you think planned out the city of Washington??? Que, 13 streets from the white house sits which building?? Seriously learn to pay attention to what others are doing in this world. You are all sheep to the slaughter now, too late for most of you.

Machin Shin says:

Re: Re: Parallel Construction

It is kind of sad….. but we might want to listen to him. After all, a few years ago it was guys like him saying “The government is spying on everything you do on the internet and recording all your calls”

Then everyone would just laugh and call him a “tin foil hat man”, but not really so funny now that Snowden proved him right…..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Parallel Construction

There were also a lot of variations of preceding, independant and persistenting stories that would point to the same thing. ECHELON? Patriot Act abuse? Terrorizing whistleblowers? etc.

Blaming the illuminati is very common and while the rest bears a curious fact, illuminati is a sign that the story is not to be taken serious on its own. That there may be collusion to work against the publics best interest is a fact of politics existing, but too much irrrationality is crazy.

Look up John Plumbes photo and whatever specific builidings the guy may be referring to and his conspiracy becomes a lot less ominous at least.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "can"?

What a Canadian court rules, they can rule whatever the F they want, and other countries can just laugh at them. Same goes with any other country.

I see this is all part of the one world government. One world order, that so many people want. Even thinking some country would try this would have been laughable not all that many years ago. Now here they are trying to do it.

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

For each country that insists its laws be applied globally, add that country to a list. Every country in the list gets its laws applied to all countries in the list.

Could be a problem when two countries’ laws directly contradict each other. Might be time to pull out of one of those countries altogether.

… Probably not really a practical idea but, hey, I like the idea of applying an entity’s stupidity against it and watching the resulting implosion once it reaches critical mass.

That One Guy (profile) says:

The 'Turnabout is Fair Play' test

For issues like this a simple test should suffice:

‘If another country with different laws ordered one of your companies that happened to have an office there to block something that violated their laws but not yours, and do so globally, would you consider that acceptable? What if doing so was in violation of your laws, even if it was following their laws, would that still be acceptable?’

Or the tl;dr version:

‘If you wouldn’t accept other countries dictating what you were ‘allowed’ to see, then you have no rights to dictate to other countries what they can see.’

Anonymous Coward says:


Google should respond identically to all nations/political-bodies that pass these laws…pack up and leave. Refuse to submit to the “laws,” and remove all investment, taxes benefits, and employment opportunities from the offending political sphere. Aww, Google might end up almost entirely back in the U.S., having to pay taxes at rates they despise, but at some point purely U.S. taxes will become less expensive than dealing with reduced ad revenues, resulting from losses of stature as a search engine, as well as levies and/or court costs in all these other locales.

tl;dr: As long as Google keeps putting up with this stuff, you can be sure they are making profits.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Cost/Benefit

Umm, they could only do that if they also refused all traffic from those countries as well – and Google isn’t into creating the setup for new competition.

They tried it once in China, and pretty much got hosed by Baidu and a couple of others. Google can’t afford to toss away countries (especially western countries) like toilet paper.

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