Google is being forced to pay a $4.5 million fine over a $5 million Australian court judgement, after a federal court found that it knowingly enabled a site called ‘DumpTheLiberal’ to be used as a platform for “anonymous” content, a move which is “known as a ‘snooper’s charter’.” In the Australian case, the Federal Court of Australia found that Google’s search engine allowed a website called ‘dumptheliberal.com’ to appear as a Google search engine result when users searched for the term “liberal”.
The site has since been taken down.
The Federal Court has ruled that the fact that Google has made a “promise to remove any content” that it finds objectionable is a “deficiency” of a promise to make its services available to the public.
The Federal Court decision was made yesterday, and has yet to be formally handed down.
Google is the fourth tech company in recent months to be fined over the issue, with Facebook, Apple and Netflix also getting into trouble.
In February, a NSW court ruled that Facebook had breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by allowing users to search for “rape” and “sexual abuse” on its platform, but a lower court ruled last month that Facebook did not breach the act.
A Google spokesman told the Australian Financial View the fine is “unnecessary and unnecessary” and has no effect on the company’s operations.
“It is our hope that we can continue to operate as normal, with no disruption to our users’ search experience,” the spokesman said.
“Google has been working with the Australian Police to address this matter.”
Google did not respond to questions from the Financial View, but it’s not clear what penalties the company will face if it prevails in the Federal court.