Data giant Google has lost a landmark legal case in Britain, forcing it to recognize the right of two claimants to have information about themselves purged from the company’s online records. The claimant in the case, identified for legal reasons only as “NT2” was convicted of conspiracy to intercept communications and received a prison sentence of six months as a result.
The court case ensued when “NT2” requested that Google remove online links to articles containing information about his conviction and the company refused him.
In 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that information about an individual, deemed to be obsolete or irrelevant, should be deleted if requested. In response, the media and technology giant has often lent on the defence that retaining such information is in the service of the “public interest.”
The result is likely to receive a mixed reception from rights groups as privacy champions have long seen the retention of personal information online as a violation of an individual’s basic rights. Others, however, have expressed concern that the public record can now be “rewritten” with powerful individuals able to remove incriminating information about themselves, making media reporting of historical events much more difficult.