The Right to be Forgotten – The High Court Orders Google De-Listing

This was a landmark case of a businessman whose previous criminal history appeared in Google’s search results, and his success in having them de-listed.

The man was sent to prison for six months over ten years ago because of his connection to a business with questionable environmental practices. He was convicted of conspiracy to carry out surveillance, he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 allowed for this conviction to be considered as spent and would not show up on his criminal record. However on the internet by searching his name on Google it would show 11 documents which referred to the crime. His lawyers argued that this was a misuse of private information and breached the Data Protection Act.

The Court directed Google to de-list the documents, there were also inaccuracies in the reporting of the crime by one newspaper and the man was also claiming that he did not want to be noted for that misleading information.

The businessman had moved into a different field of work, had shown remorse and pleaded guilty, the Court felt there was no chance of him reoffending so the information was obsolete. There was no legitimate reason for Google users to need that information and therefore Google had no reason to make it available.

The Court refused the man’s claim for compensation as Google had worked within the remits of the Data Protection Act 1998 and had been deemed to take reasonable care. There was a further case brought by another businessman which was dismissed as there was on-going public interest and the information was correct.