Google suffers defeat in landmark 'right to be forgotten' case

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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 judge ruled out any damages payment, and told the court: NT2 has frankly acknowledged his guilt and expressed genuine remorse.

He said their claims were based on the right to be forgotten, or to have personal information delisted by the operators of internet search engines.

The ruling pointed out that this father-of-four didn't profit financially from the violations and was at risk of losing his job again unless the articles were brought down in search results with his name.

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.

Justice Mark Warby said in a ruling Friday that one story in a national United Kingdom newspaper was "misleading as to the nature and extent of the claimant's criminality".

"We are pleased that the Court recognized our efforts [to comply with the Right to Be Forgotten], and we will respect the judgments they have made in this case", a Google spokesman said about the new ruling, The Telegraph reported.

Commenting on Friday's decision, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group said: "The right to be forgotten is meant to apply to information that is no longer relevant but disproportionately impacts a person". The company's attorney argued that the European Union policy wasn't intended as a "right to rewrite history" or "tailor your past", and adding that you may have rehabilitated, but doesn't mean that you can prevent any of your convictions never existed.

"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".

Google says it will accept the rulings from the judge. "They may have to weigh the seriousness of crimes and the convict's willingness to reform", the site said. Now, the unnamed plaintiff will have his request honored by Google.

Regulators in France, however, are now pushing to extend the EU's "right to be forgotten" ruling to apply to websites globally, which would include the United States.