Google has been ordered to remove links to articles about a businessman’s historic criminal convictions based on the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’, which arises under data protection law. The case was brought by two businessmen and resulted in differing conclusions about each of them. The successful claimant argued that he had suffered ‘distress and upset’ from the continued visibility of articles relating to his conviction. The judge, Mr Justice Warby, agreed that the historical articles about him were no longer relevant and should be deleted from search results, although he was not entitled to compensation on the basis that Google had taken ‘reasonable care’ over the request. The other claimant was unsuccessful in his claim, with the judge stating that the information about his conviction was ‘essentially public in character’ and ‘serves the purpose of minimising the risk that he will continue to mislead, as he has in the past’.

Google is said to have already removed 800,000 pages from its search results as a result of similar requests since 2014 and this ruling may well encourage more individuals to come forward to make similar requests.

Keep an eye on MediaWrites in the coming weeks for a more detailed analysis of the decision and its likely implications.

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