Google has asked the High Court of Australia to overturn a 2020 ruling it warns could have a “devastating” effect on the wider internet. In a filing the search giant made on Friday, Google claims it will be forced to “act as censor” if the country’s highest court doesn’t overturn a decision that awarded a lawyer $40,000 in defamation damages for an article the company had linked to through its search engine, reports The Guardian.

In 2016, George Defteros, a Victoria state lawyer whose past client list included individuals implicated in Melbourne’s notorious gangland killings, contacted Google to ask the company to remove a 2004 article from The Age. The piece featured reporting on murder charges prosecutors filed against Defteros related to the death of three men. Those charges were later dropped in 2005. The company refused to remove the article from its search results as it viewed the publication as a reputable source.

The matter eventually went to court with Defteros

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