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Google ordered to remove search results about a spent conviction

In an interesting development to the issue of the ‘google-effect’ and spent convictions, the Guardian has reported that Google has been ordered by the Information Commissioner’s Office to remove nine links to current news stories about older reports which themselves were removed from search results under the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.

The search engine had previously removed links relating to a 10 year-old criminal offence by an individual after requests were made as the offence is now spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Removal of the original links from Google’s search results led to new news posts detailing the removals, which were then indexed by Google’s search engine. Google refused to remove these further links, which included details of the original criminal offence, despite them forming part of search results for the individual’s name, arguing that they are an essential part of a recent news story and in the public interest.

Google now has 35 days from the 18 August to remove the links from its search results for the individual’s name.

We will be keeping a close eye on how this case develops, and hope that Google will take the sensible steps of removing the links and upholding the privacy of the individual concerned.


Useful links

  • Have you managed to get details of your convictions removed from search results? Let us know – send us your experience
  • More information on issue of the ‘google-effect’ and spent convictions can be found on our policy page here.
  • We also have practical information for people dealing with the google-effect on our information site.


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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