Man wins right to have his criminal conviction forgotten by Google

Mae Love
April 14, 2018

Justice Mark Warby ruled in favour of an unnamed businessman on Friday, siding with his argument that his criminal conviction was now legally "spent", and that they have been rehabilitated. The anonymous businessman - known only as NT2 - has a conviction for conspiracy to intercept communications from more than a decade ago and spent six months in prison for the crime.

Carter-Ruck, the law firm which acted for both men, described the cases as unprecedented and groundbreaking.

The judge distinguished the facts of the two cases and the attitudes of those making the requests", reported Search Engine Land, who added, "It's probably safe to say that this ruling will encourage others similarly denied by Google to seek redress in the courts.

NT1 was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely, and was jailed for four years. The judge also said that there was no "plausible suggestion" that "there is a risk that this wrongdoing will be repeated by the claimant". Warby further said all 11 articles related to the man should be delisted by Google.

"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 and will defend the public's right to access lawful information", the spokesperson said.

The latter businessman, however, "has not accepted his guilt, has misled the public and this court, and shows no remorse over any of these matters", the judge ruled.

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Google said it would accept the rulings.

"We are pleased that the Court recognized our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgments they have made in this case", the company said.

The right to be forgotten is a legal precedent set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014, following a case brought by Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzalez who had asked Google to remove information about his financial history.

"The right to be forgotten is meant to apply to information that is no longer relevant but disproportionately impacts a person", Jim Killock, the group's executive director, told the BBC.

The balance may depend, the ECJ ruled "on the nature of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject's private life and on the interest of the public in having that information, an interest which may vary, in particular, according to the role played by the data subject in public life".

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.

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