Andrew Little takes on Google over Grace Millane murder

Justice Minister Andrew Little's squaring off with Google, saying the tech giant's showing contempt for New Zealand law and for the family of murdered backpacker Grace Millane.

It comes after the tech giant failed to make any changes to its systems after it breached name suppression orders and named the man accused of killing Millane.

Millane's death touched the nation, but justice for her murder could have been jeopardised  in December when Google published the name of the accused - breaching a suppression order.

"It's just not acceptable," Little told Newshub.

Google held several meetings with top Government figures - including on with Little in December. But the internet giant hasn't changed its systems since the breach. Lawyers are also dismayed.

"We now have a tech company in the name of global profits riding roughshod over our laws  and our courts. It's completely improper," barrister Michael Bott says.

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.

"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 says.

"We've tried talking to  them being decent and getting some kind of voluntary compliance. They've just given the bird to the Government," Bott says.

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 says.

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".


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