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


A European businessman has won a UK High Court action that demands that Google remove from its search results potentially damaging information about him.

But it did win against another businessman who was fighting against Google at the same time and had committed a more serious offence.

Mr Justice Warby has analysed issues at two High Court trials in London.

The two men both say their convictions are legally "spent" and that they have been rehabilitated.

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.

As reported at the Guardian, the businessman who won was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for "conspiracy to carry out surveillance" and a judge ruled an "appropriate delisting order should be made" in this case.

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However, the judge ruled out any damages payment. Permission to appeal was granted in his case.

The man, referred to publicly only as NT2 since disclosing his name would completely undermine the objective 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. In response, the media and technology giant has often lent on the defence that retaining such information is in the service of the "public interest".

He added: "The right to be forgotten litigation requires the courts to once again consider where that balance lies, a question which has implications for us all".

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

Google only deletes information that appears on its own results pages. The ruling pointed out that this father-of-four didn't profit financially from the violations and was at risk of losing his job again unless the articles were brought down in search results with his name.

Supporters point out that the court specified Google should not remove links to information when the public's right to know about it outweighs an individual's right to privacy - for example when a politician or public figure seeks to clean online records.