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Google loses right to be forgotten lawsuit

Google Crosshairs

Google its ‘right to be forgotten’ case against a UK businessman, a decision which could have notable implications in the digital economy.

The ruling was made by Justice Mark Warby, a judge who also rejected a similar claim who was jailed for a more serious offense. The defendant, referred to NT2 for legal reasons, was convicted of conspiracy to account falsely in the late 90s, spending four years in prison. After Google rejected NT2’s demands to remove links from search engine results which point the nefarious acts, NT2 took the search engine giant to court.

The European data protection law in question allows gives the right for consumers to be forgotten, deindexing information from the internet which is no longer deemed relevant. This is a law which is used often but does not get great amounts of attention, though in setting precedent with this ruling there tailoring an individual’s past could become fashionable. Some might argue that the information is still relevant, though this is the grey area which Justice Warby found himself in. NT2 argued successfully that rehabilitation meant it was no longer relevant information.

NT1 was another businessman attempting to have the embarrassing history erased from the Google search machine, however this claim was not successful. NT1 also spent time in prison, this time in the early 00’s for ‘controversial business that was the subject of public opposition over its environmental practices’, though the judge ruled the information should still be publicly available as NT1 had not shown remorse; the rehabilitation argument did not stand here.

The interesting area to keep an eye on now will be how this rolls out into the general public, looking beyond those who have criminal pasts. Employment history could be erased because of a change in career, or inappropriate photos could be deleted because of some pandering reason which is blown out of proportion as they often are. Those who are fond of having one or two drinks too many will be celebrating, but the door cannot now be closed.


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