Google Loses Precedent-Setting Right To Be Forgotten Case

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Google has fallen on the losing side of at least one of two London cases brought under the European laws collectively referred to as the”right to be forgotten.”For those who may not recall, the right to be forgotten laws effectively allow individuals to request that websites, articles, social media pages, or other information about themselves be removed from a given server. The concept centers around the idea that once that information is no longer pertinent, there’s no real need for it to remain up. In this instance, case numbers HQ15X04127 and HQ15X04128, the information in question was with regards to reports about criminal convictions of two unnamed businessmen. It’s thought that the rulings will serve as a precedent for future cases falling under the right to be forgotten laws.

To avoid confusion, the men in the two cases were referred to as NT1 and NT2. In both cases, Google had refused to remove search results pertaining to the criminal acts of the businessman in question. However, the presiding justice, Mr. Justice Warby, determined that the removal was warranted in the case of NT2. Although the judge denied damage payments for the continued existence of the articles the request pertained to in both cases, it was determined that those should be removed in the NT2 case. The reasoning provided by the judge was summarized as being grounded in the level of remorse shown by the claimant. More specifically, the businessman was also judged to have moved on and to no longer be at risk of repeating the offenses in question. Moreover, the conviction was deemed irrelevant to the current career path of the man. The case went a different direction entirely for NT1. In that ruling, the judge noted that the businessman is still in a relative field of business. As a result, it was concluded, the continued existence of the information serves to minimize the “risk” of a re-occurrence.

It goes without saying that it’s probably still too early to judge the impending impact of the rulings. As of this writing, there aren’t any real gauges for how many requests centered around the right to be forgotten rules are made in total. However, as of February, Google alone had received over two million requests. So it isn’t at all unlikely that the cases will be referenced in future legal proceedings.