From The Verge: 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.
Last December, these automated email alerts named the man accused of killing 22-year-old Grace Millane, a British backpacker traveling in the country. Her accused killer was granted temporary name suppression to ensure a fair trial, but Google’s automated Trends alerts put his name in the subject line of an email sent to thousands of users.
Google apologized for the error but refused to change how its Trends feature works. An email from the company’s New Zealand government affairs manager Ross Young reported by The Guardian said changes did not need to be made as the case was “relatively unique ... involving a person from overseas, which was extensively reported by overseas media.”
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.
“Google’s contempt for New Zealand law, and for Grace Millane’s family is unacceptable, and I will now be considering my options,” said Little, following meetings with Google executives at the beginning of this week. “In the end, Google is effectively acting as a publisher and publishing material that is under suppression orders in New Zealand, and they cannot and should not be allowed to get away with that.”
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