INTERNET GIANT Google has lost a landmark 'right to be forgotten' case and must now 'delist' search results about a criminal conviction.
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 ruling means that Google must now remove articles about the man having committed crimes in the past, although the judge ruled out any damages payment.
Google said in a statement that it "works hard to comply" with the right to be forgotten, but added that it takes "great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest."
"We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case."
A similar claim brought by a second businessman, who was jailed for a more serious offence, was rejected on Friday. His lawyers had argued that the visibility of the articles on the search engine caused "distress and upset".
As reported at the Guardian, the businessman who won was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for "conspiracy to carry out surveillance" and a judge ruled an "appropriate delisting order should be made" in this case.
The businessman who lost his case had complained about three links returned by Google providing information about his conviction for "conspiracy to account falsely", for which he received a sentence of four years.
Judges ruled that neither of the men should be identified as part of the case.
Lawyers said the two claims, which were brought under data protection law and for "misuse of private information", were the first of their kind to be aired in England.
"Spent convictions are rather different. The right of people to rehabilitation is an important one.
"The Court will have to balance the public's right to access the historical record, the precise impacts on the person, and the public interest.
"Courts should also consider the context of particular search results. For instances, searches to find information about an incident, versus searches for someone's particular name, should be treated differently." µ
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