A High Court judge's ruling on litigation featuring two businessmen who want Google to stop linking their names to media reports about past crimes will have implications for everyone, a lawyer says. He claimed that the information was no longer relevant and that it should be deleted.
NT2 had "frankly acknowledged his guilt", he said, adding: "His current business activities are in a field quite different from that in which he was operating at the time". "The right to be forgotten litigation requires the courts to once again consider where that balance lies".
In 2014, the European Court of Justice, the supreme court of the European Union, had ruled that people and corporations had a right to request the "delisting" of information on search engines that is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive", but that public interest also had to be considered.
The claimant who lost, referred to only as NT1 for legal reasons, was convicted of conspiracy to account falsely in the late 1990s; the claimant who won, known as NT2, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiracy to intercept communications.
Carter-Ruck, the law firm which acted for both men, described the cases as "unprecedented" and "groundbreaking".More news: Woman arrested after allegedly abusing son on video; family defends her
However, the judge ruled out any damages payment.
"He remains in business, and the information serves the objective of minimizing the risk that he will continue to mislead, as he has in the past", Warby said of NT1. We are pleased that the court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgments they have made in this case.
The Right to Be Forgotten can be interpreted in various ways by courts throughout Europe.
A United Kingdom judge has ruled that Google must honor a man's request to erase search results about him.
Anybody can exercise their right to be forgotten via an online form.More news: Police release bodycam footage of confrontation with YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdam
Both men were challenging Google's refusal to remove some links which contained information about their criminal past. However, search engines can decline to remove pages if they judge them to remain in the public interest. The most affected website is Facebook, with 18,723 links removed. The decision stemmed from a Spanish man's attempts to remove old links to his debt problems.
He said his key conclusion in relation to NT2's claim was that "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".
Immediately after the 2014 ruling, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales warned that Google must not be left to "censor history", warning that would be "a very unsafe path to go down".
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".More news: Pompeo: US airstrikes in February killed 'a couple hundred Russians'