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.
But it did win against another businessman who was fighting against Google at the same time and had committed a more serious offence.
The two linked cases are: NT1 v. Google and NT2 v. Google, High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Case No.'s HQ15X04128 and HQ15X04127.
Mr Justice Warby said the businessmen, who can not be named for legal reasons, complained of results returned by Google Search that feature links to third-party reports about their convictions.
The lawsuit and judge's order came after Google initially refused to remove search results pertaining to the man's convictions (including results that linked to news articles), which the petitioner claimed were both harmful and no longer relevant, and, hence, subject to erasure due to the Right to be Forgotten. Permission to appeal was granted in his case.
They argued their convictions were now legally spent and they had both been rehabilitated.
The judge said the information related to his crime retains sufficient relevance today.
'He remains in business, and the information serves the goal of minimising the risk that he will continue to mislead, as he has in the past, ' he said.
Mr Justice Warby told the High Court: He has not accepted his guilt, has misled the public and this court, and shows no remorse over any of these matters. Weighing such factors in a Right to be Forgotten case in such a manner seems to be potentially precedent setting, and could have significant implications for other convicted criminals in Europe who seek to have stories about their misdeeds erased from search results.
"We are pleased that the Court recognized our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgments they have made in this case", the company said.
Google says it will accept the rulings from the judge.