Wednesday, 03 July 2019 19:30

NZ minister angry over Google's breach of suppression order Featured

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NZ minister angry over Google's breach of suppression order Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little has accused search behemoth Google of "flipping the bird" at his country after it said it would not change its policies following the breach of a suppression order, and publishing the name of a 27-year-old Auckland man whose name has been suppressed in a prominent murder case.

The man has been accused of the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane and in December Google emailed his name to anyone who signed up to its "what's trending in New Zealand" email, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Little had sought an explanation from Google executives whom he met at the country's parliament in December and company officials had told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a January meeting in Europe that they would examine the matter.

Similar assurances were given to officials of Little's ministry when they followed up with Google in March and also this week.

On Tuesday, Little released an email from Google's New Zealand government affairs manager Ross Young that read: "We have looked at our systems and it appears that last year's situation was relatively unique as it was a high-profile case, involving a person from overseas, which was extensively reported by overseas media."

He said he did not accept the claim that it was a rare case and that Google was not a published.

Little told the ABC's PM program that Google had sent the information to New Zealanders on its own initiative and it was residing on the company's servers.

He said it was not a case of people in New Zealand seeking out the information and then locating it.

Little said he did not accept that Google was not a publisher as it actively sought out information through its own algorithms and then generated that information when people looked for it.

He was not clear as to what he could do but said that some solution had been found as there was a risk that this kind of leaking of suppressed information could surface on the search platform again.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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