Andrew Little's message to Google over Grace Millane murder

Justice Minister Andrew Little has delivered a stinging message to Google - "Don't be evil".

His reminder of Google's former unofficial motto comes as the Justice Minister squares off with the tech giant over its breach of name suppression orders in the Grace Millane case.

"There are some things that are pretty important to our justice system, and making sure people get treated fairly whether as a defendant or for that matter as a victim is absolutely crucial," he said in a Twitter video on Wednesday night.

"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.

"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 help prevent this from happening again. My message to Google is 'Don't be evil'. Do the right thing."

Google has held several meetings with top Government figures - including with Little in December.

The tech giant had told the Ministry of Justice the publication of the name - seven months ago - was the result of a "relatively unique" situation. But the internet giant hasn't changed its systems since the breach.

"They've shown no willingness to want to look at their systems to prevent a recurrence of that and I've gotta be concerned about that," Little told Newshub.

Little says tech giants like Google can't hide behind their algorithms.

"That's actually the rule of might is right. I've never accepted that in my life. I'm not going to accept it now," he told Newshub.

He's considering banding together with other countries to create international protocol - and taking official advice on what legal actions could be taken against the likes of Google.

"It's been disappointing. Now we need to consider what the next steps will be for NZ," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

The Government's relying on public backing to pressure Google into preventing this happening again, just like it has with other tech giants like Facebook. 

Google told Newshub it "respects New Zealand law and understands the sensitivity around this issue".




Contact Newshub with your story tips: