Google must delete

The much reported ‘right to be forgotten’ case against the search engine giant Google has been decided.

The organisation has been ordered to remove links to articles about historic criminal convictions of a businessman. The case is a milestone as it is the first ‘right to be forgotten’ case in England and Wales.

The case also mentioned the new EU General Data Protection Regulations which we have reported on in an earlier newsletter, which come into force in May 2018.

There were two applicants in the case and their anonymity will continue. They were both convicted of criminal offences over 10 years ago. The convictions were reported in the press at the time. The issue was whether the links to the old press articles amounted to an unjustified interference with privacy rights and if so, whether damages should be awarded. The Judge noted that much of the relevant legislation was introduced before the internet came about.

One of the cases was rejected but the other was upheld although no compensation was awarded. 

The Court said: 'The crime and punishment information has become out of date, irrelevant and of no sufficient legitimate interest to users of Google Search to justify its continued availability, so that an appropriate delisting order should be made'.

The unsuccessful applicant has been given the right to appeal, so this might not be the end of the story.

The result of the case is likely to lead to more requests for historic data held on the internet to be delisted.

If you are affected by this issue, contact us.

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