For reasons I can’t possibly fathom, a judge in Galveston issued a gag order, ordering Google to “erase all mention of those accusations from the entire Internet including other websites.” Google is currently appealing this order to the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston. I am quoted in the Chronicle discussing how outlandish this order is:
Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law, described the order and similar ones cropping up around the country as “blatantly unconstitutional.”
“You get these kinds of cases all the time, where a lawyer gives a judge an order and throws in, ‘and Google too,'” Blackman said. “They have no authority to tell Google to delete this from the Internet.”
Expunging court records, he said, does not include Internet records, especially search results.
“I feel for those people, but the remedies are unconstitutional.” Blackman said. “You can’t mandate that someone censor a search engine.”
Fellow Houstonian Mark Bennet is also quoted:
Mark Bennett, a criminal defense attorney who has helped several clients get information taken off websites, said he sympathizes with people who want their information off the internet, but predicted Google will win the legal argument.
“This person will eventually lose,” Bennett said. “He can’t get Google to do something without giving them an opportunity to respond and, second, the First Amendment protects what Google is doing.”
Google is a service that indexes information, he said. It does not own it.
He said a better strategy is to approach each website with the content and ask that it be removed or changed to reflect the outcome.