Google 'Right to Be Forgotten' Case Lost, Must Delist Man's Crime

Google 'Right to Be Forgotten' Case Lost, Must Delist Man's Crime

Google was told by a London judge to remove links to older stories about a businessman's criminal conviction from search results, in a United Kingdom case that could dramatically expand Europe's "Right to Be Forgotten" law.

The man, referred to publicly only as NT2 since disclosing his name would completely undermine the goal of the court order, demanded that Google remove search results about a past crime that he had committed - conspiring to intercept communications - and for which he had served six months in jail over a decade ago.

A High Court judge agreed, in a major blow to Google, who had fought the case.

Mr Justice Warby delivered a blow to Google by ruling in his favour on Friday.

The judge said he'd also taken the nature of the man's conviction into consideration, as well as his demonstrated "remorse" for the crime. A Google search brings up the information "through a few key strokes", undermining the law about such older convictions where a defendant has paid his debt to society, Hugh Tomlinson, a lawyer for one of the businessmen, said at an earlier court hearing.

"The right to be forgotten is meant to apply to information that is no longer relevant but disproportionately impacts a person", said Jim Killock, executive director. The anonymous businessman - known only as NT2 - has a conviction for conspiracy to intercept communications from more than a decade ago and spent six months in prison for the crime.

He added the man "has not accepted his guilt, has misled the public and this court, and shows no remorse over any of these matters". He similarly petitioned Google to remove search results about a crime he had committed, for which he served four years in jail.

In the case of NT1, however, Mr Warby said that the man had continued to mislead people.

However, the judge ruled out any damages payment.

They took Google to court when it refused to remove the search results.

'We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case'.

In 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that information about an individual, deemed to be obsolete or irrelevant, should be deleted if requested.

The right to be forgotten is a legal precedent set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014, following a case brought by Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzalez who had asked Google to remove information about his financial history.

Behind RTBF decision-making is a balancing test, weighing the content behind the removal request versus the public interest or public's right to know.

But the move has sparked concerns about news stories and other previously public information being hidden.

The tech company says it has removed more than 800,000 pages so far.

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