Grace Millane: Google to review system after 'unacceptable' name suppression breach

Representatives from online juggernaut Google have told Justice Minister Andrew Little the company will review its systems after naming the alleged killer of Grace Millane in an email.

The murder-accused of Grace Millane received interim name suppression on December 10, but according to Ross Young, senior manager of public policy and government affairs for Google New Zealand, Google didn't receive a court order until December 14.

After receiving the order, Google took "appropriate action" - but he does not know why it took four days for the company to act.

He said that Google respected New Zealand law and would "respond to court orders when we get them".

But Mr Little said Google must respect court orders from the moment they have been laid out - not whenever the company ends up receiving them.

Mr Little said Google's breach of the name suppression law in an email discussing trending issues in New Zealand was "unacceptable", and says meeting with the company was necessary to "defend the integrity of our system".

Google will now go away and look at their systems, said Mr Young, to ensure the right processes are in place for future situations. He said currently, the company can review the court orders to make sure all relevant information is understood.

"I think what you want is a process that works well and effectively," Mr Young said, before walking out of the press conference.

Mr Little said he will be in touch with Google early next year to find out what progress it's made in reviewing its systems, and will take advice on what options are available if a similar breach of name suppression occurs again.

At least one overseas media outlet published the 26-year-old's name after his court appearance on Monday, and while the name was later removed from the online article, it spread via social media.

"It will not do justice to the Millane family if the accused in this case gets to walk away from facing justice because somebody else disclosed his details, and he is able to say he won't get a fair trial," Mr Little told Newshub on Tuesday.

"The suppression orders handed down by the New Zealand court have to be adhered to in New Zealand.

"The guy at some point will face court and potentially a trial in New Zealand. We've got to do everything we can to make sure he gets fair trial rights."