19:39UK Businessman Wins "Right to be Forgotten" by Google

19:39UK Businessman Wins

Both men demanded that Google remove search results mentioning the cases for which they were convicted.

A United Kingdom businessman has won his legal action to remove search results about his criminal conviction in a landmark "right to be forgotten" case that could have wide-ranging repercussions for Google and other search providers.

"His past offending is of little if any relevance to anybody's assessment of his suitability to engage in relevant business activity now, or in the future", the judge wrote.

Both had ordered Google to remove search results about their convictions, including links to news articles, stating that they were no longer relevant.

Google has lost a "right to be forgotten" case to a man who wanted links to information about a previous conviction to be removed from the site.

He spent six months in jail but his crime will now be omitted from Google's search engine.

Lawyers said the two claims, which were brought under data protection law and for "misuse of private information", were the first of their kind to be aired in England.

In the case of NT1, however, the judge was scathing in terms of the claimant's position since leaving prison.

He also took into account the submission that NT2's conviction did not concern actions taken by him in relation to "consumers, customers or investors", but rather in relation to the invasion of privacy of third parties.

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"We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest", the tech giant said in a statement.

The Right to Be Forgotten can be interpreted in various ways by courts throughout Europe.

Since then, Google has received requests to remove more than two million URLs from Europeans, according to a transparency report published in February.

"Courts should also consider the context of particular search results".

He said his key conclusion in relation to NT2's claim was that "the crime and punishment information has become out of date, irrelevant and of no sufficient legitimate interest to users of Google search to justify its continued availability".

It's a tricky statute because what is relevant is a continually subjective matter, especially considering that what a specific individual might not want on the internet about themselves might well be in the public interest.

Some 669,355 requests for links to be removed from the search engine results have been made to Google since the ruling. The decision stemmed from a Spanish man's attempts to remove old links to his debt problems.

"At the heart of these cases is the simple question of whether a person's online past should be allowed to follow them around forever - the Court's decision is essential reading in understanding how the "right to be forgotten" operates", said Nick McAleenan, a partner in media and data privacy law at JMW Solicitors. In those circumstances, "the public interest in having information with his name about this case doesn't prevail".

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