Businessman ends ‘right to be forgotten’ court battle against Google

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A businessman who launched legal action against Google in a fight for the “right to be forgotten” over a past crime has ended his court battle.

Earlier this year, the man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – lost his case at the High Court.

Three Court of Appeal judges in London were due to hear the latest round of the action on Thursday, but the hearing did not go ahead.

A spokesman for the judiciary said the Court of Appeal had granted the businessman’s request to withdraw his appeal.

The request to withdraw was “made by mutual consent” between the parties.

Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lady Justice Sharp and Lord Justice Coulson were due to hear the man’s appeal against a ruling made in his case by a High Court judge in April.

Mr Justice Warby announced findings in separate cases brought by two businessmen who were convicted of criminal offences many years ago.

They argued that their convictions were legally spent and they have been rehabilitated.

Lawyers said their claims, brought under data protection law and for “misuse of private information”, were the first of their kind to be aired in England.

Mr Justice Warby ruled in favour of one businessman in his action against Google, but rejected the case of the other man, who was jailed for a more serious offence.

The businessman who lost, who can only be referred to as NT1, was due to have his case considered again by the three appeal judges.

Announcing his April decision, Mr Justice Warby said the businessmen complained of results returned by Google Search that featured links to third-party reports about their convictions.

Their claims were based, he said, on the “right to be forgotten” or, “more accurately”, the right to have personal information “delisted” or “de-indexed” by the operators of internet search engines.

The businessman who failed in his action to be “delisted”, 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.

The businessman who won, referred to as NT2, was sentenced to six months for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”.

In his case, which related to complaints about 11 “source publications”, Mr Justice Warby ruled that an “appropriate delisting order” should be made.

In NT2’s case, the “crime and punishment information” had become “out of date, irrelevant and of no sufficient legitimate interest to users of Google Search to justify its continued availability”, the judge said. He had acknowledged his guilt and expressed genuine remorse. There was no evidence of any risk of repetition.

Rejecting NT1’s claim, the judge said the crime and punishment information “retains sufficient relevance today”.

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