Google has suspended an email alert system in New Zealand after receiving backlash by the country’s government for releasing suppressed information relating to an ongoing murder trial.
The company in December released automated emails that included the name of a suspect of a high-profile murder trial.
During the trial, the court had ordered for the name of the accused murder to be suppressed while the trial was still in process to ensure a fair trial, but Google’s automated Trends email alerts sent the murder suspect’s name to thousands of users.
Google’s decision to suspend its email alerting system, Trends, on Friday — seven months after it breached the court order — comes almost immediately after Justice Minister Andrew Little on Wednesday posted a video on Twitter saying to Google: “don’t be evil”.
“We’ve had a situation where, in a very important trial — the Grace Millane case — a newspaper, helped by Google, has published information that the judge said was suppressed,” Little said in the video.
“That’s wrong and I’ve been a bit frustrated by Google not working out what the problem is and what they can do to prevent this from happening again,” he added.
With the decision to suspend Trends in New Zealand, people will no longer receive emails on any trending searches related to New Zealand.