Criminals can claim 'right to be forgotten' following landmark Google case

  • Criminals can claim 'right to be forgotten' following landmark Google case

Criminals can claim 'right to be forgotten' following landmark Google case

Google has lost a historic case around the right to be forgotten as the High Court ruled in favour of a businessman who wants results about a past crime omitted from the search engine.

The court refused to award damages to the businessman, saying Google took reasonable care in the case. "The information is of scant if any apparent relevance to any business activities that he seems likely to engage in".

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.

He remains in business, and the information serves the objective of minimising the risk that he will continue to mislead, as he has in the past.

He added it could draw additional publicity for the information in question.

"We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case". At a high level, it refers to the right of people to either have certain adverse data about them blocked from being Internet accessible, or to have entries removed from search engine results on their names if the information in those entries is outdated or irrelevant.

"There is an inherent tension between an individual's right to privacy and what information the public interest requires be available", said solicitor Ben Rose, who is based at law firm Hickman & Rose. "They may have to weigh the seriousness of crimes and the convict's willingness to reform", the site said.

At the heart of the precedent-setting disputes is a balancing act between the right to a private life and the right to freedom of expression, both of which were established in the European Convention on Human Rights. Now, the unnamed plaintiff will have his request honored by Google.

Surveys show a majority of Americans support the "right to be forgotten", but observers have said it's unlikely that such legislation would pass here because of possible violations of the First Amendment. Some free speech advocates have argued that could infringe upon the U.S. Constitution.