Faced with a court order from the Spanish regional courts operating in Catalonia, Google has removed an application from Google Play entitled “On Votar 1-Oct,” a piece of software for smartphones publicize by Catalan First Minister Carles Puidgemont.
The software integrated Google Maps and GPS functions and was meant to allow Catalan voters to find their nearest polling stations during the October 1 referendum, and to share information related to such locations.
The judge in question accused the app of being a continuation of Catalan efforts to defy the court ban on the referendum. The ban intends to extend to all future voting software related to the Catalan referendum.
Google says it is their policy to remove software whenever they get a court order. In this case, however, it amounts to the Spanish national government trying to undermine an election carried out by regional authorities on a possible secession, which seems a grey area.
Indeed, Google’s policy could easily become a recurring problem in places with disputed legal jurisdictions. The question in this case is whether the Catalan regional government has jurisdiction over Catalonia, or does Spain’s national government, which opposes Catalan independence, but it could become a problem any number of other places in the world.