Tech giant cuts entire feature from country after publishing sensitive information
By Ben Warren
Google has suspended an email alert system in New Zealand after the government slammed the search giant for publishing suppressed details about a murder case.
The “Google Trends” automated alert defied a court order that suppressed the name of a murder suspect by putting the accused killer’s name in an email’s subject line.
“In light of the concerns you expressed this week, Google has also suspended Google trends email about searches trending in New Zealand,” saidGoogle’s government affairs and public policy manager Ross Young in a Friday email. “This means that people will no longer receive emails on any trending searches for New Zealand and provides even further assurance against any recurrence [of a similar incident].”
Young was responding to Justice Minister Andrew Little’s accusations that Google had not done anything to change their alert system since the incident and that the tech titan was “flipping the bird” at the country’s legal system.
“Google’s contempt for New Zealand law, and for [the murder victim’s] family is unacceptable, and I will now be considering my options,” said Young earlier this week, later urging Google to not be “evil” and to “do the right thing,” in a clear jab at the company’s “don’t be evil” motto.
Interestingly, an earlier response from Google on the incident was reportedly downplaying the need to change their Trends system because the murder story was already “extensively reported on by overseas media.”