Stephen Harper on election night in Calgary, Oct. 19, 2015. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)The Prime Minister's Office called it a technical matter; public servants wanted the change so that searches produced the latest material.
Google said in a statement it just wants to ensure that its searches reflect the contents of websites. "We don't take a view on what is appropriate for site owners to feature on their own websites," it said. "But, like any website owner, they can submit a request (via a form we make available to all website owners) to update our search results to include the latest, most recent version of their website." The government search result requests covered Harper's daily posts and his 24-Seven video diary as well as news releases in both French and English.
"We don't take a view on what is appropriate for site owners to feature on their own websites."
— Google statement
PCO asked Google 51 times to remove Harper materialOn Nov. 9, the PCO asked Google to clear its index for any page published on the domain pm.gc.ca before Nov. 4, but Google did not offer such a service. In January, requests were made for more deletions year-by-year through Harper's tenure and the government reply says pages no longer show up search results. In all, the PCO asked Google 51 times to remove Harper material from its search results. The office said, however, that Harper's website material was saved in its entirety in the archives. "This application went live in April and a link to it has been added to the PCO website," said Raymond Rivet, director of corporate and media affairs for the PCO.
Past requests to delete Google resultsA few other agencies made a handful of requests to Google asking that documents be removed from web searches. For example, the RCMP asked that one news release be removed because charges had been dropped and that another be deleted because a publication ban had been imposed in a case. National Defence asked Google to remove an older version of a document from its cache because it included personal information about a member of the Forces. The Treasury Board asked for a change after finding that Google searches tied a photo of Bill Matthews, comptroller general of Canada, to biographical information for Bill Matthews, a former MP from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Also on HuffPost: