Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: Future Publishing via Getty Images

Google suspends trend alerts in New Zealand after naming murder suspect

Google emailed the name to subscribers, violating a court order.
98 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Future Publishing via Getty Images

Google has suspended Trends alerts in New Zealand following criticism from the government that it published the name of a murder suspect, in violation of a court order.

The incident occurred in December 2018, when Google Trends published the name of a man accused of killing British backpacker Grace Millane. A few days after the murder, Google sent an email to anyone signed up for the "what's trending in New Zealand" alert which included the name of the accused killer in the subject line.

The topic was picked up from a British newspaper report and forwarded automatically to all subscribers. This violated a suppression order and caused anger in New Zealand, where the serious crime rate is low and the crime shocked the country.

At first, Google refused to take action and adapt the system that led to the name being revealed. But after Justice Minister Andrew Little wrote a furious letter saying the company was "rid[ing] roughshod over one of the most important principles of criminal justice," Google relented and suspended Trends alerts in the country.

"We understand the sensitivity around this issue and we have suspended Google Trends emails about searches trending in New Zealand," a Google spokeswoman said to Reuters.

Google also wrote to Little, apologizing for any "miscommunication" and said in part, "We understand the need to protect the right to a fair trial and acknowledge that this is a fundamental part of the legal system."

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
98 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

View
Gene editing tool could treat many diseases created by mutations

Gene editing tool could treat many diseases created by mutations

View
Volvo's Polestar engineered XC60 is fast, but still reserved

Volvo's Polestar engineered XC60 is fast, but still reserved

View
Netflix thriller 'Clickbait' will explore the dark side of social networks

Netflix thriller 'Clickbait' will explore the dark side of social networks

View
'Dota 2' champions won more money than top Wimbledon players

'Dota 2' champions won more money than top Wimbledon players

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr