An English businessman is suing Google in a bid to remove links to his criminal history, which he claims have left him treated like a “pariah”. The unnamed man, The Times reports (paywall), was convicted on a charge of “conspiracy to account falsely” in the 1990s. Newspaper articles remain online referencing the crime and the businessman, who was awarded anonymity for this suit, said he was “unable to form any new friendships or personal relationships”. Google defended its right to retain information it said was in the public interest. It is the first “right to be forgotten” case to be heard in the UK.
Courtesy of Linkedin Many years ago in the heady days of 1970s London punk, I was on my way home (a squat in an old office block) after an all-nighter with some friends. We were feeling peckish. There was a delivery of bread at one of the restaurants in the west end and for the first time in my life I ended up in court charged with the theft of a somewhat unglamourous french loaf. I was fresh out of public school and had run away from home to marry a punk. I really should have been more prepared for a life of vice. I was in Bow Street Magistrates Court within hours (after a hearty breakfast which was the first meal I had eaten in weeks as I was technically homeless at the time). I was really pleased about the fry up but in court, along with the night's 'clippers', I broke down like a the baby I was. Clippers were working girls who didn't put out. They usually worked with an accomplice male who set up the deal and took the money, then the girl would literally leg it. The police despised them and so did the courts. I have never really understood why, it seems a very male reaction. Anyway, after I broke down in court, a nice policeman, the one who had arrested me over a french loaf (what a career) advised me on what to say to the judge. I was out by lunch with a £35 fine and a criminal record. I never really thought of the incident until another arrest on my 50th birthday. It was to do with my cats so I feel completely exonerated. There was a cafe above my godforsaken pit of a basement flat owned by a slum landlord in Brighton. There were weekly incidents flooding my artwork in espresso and I lost it one day because my two beautiful deaf white cats were covered in hot coffee. Apparently I threatened to kill people, scared customers and broke the espresso machine. I would do it again. I am a fearless cat woman. The previous arrest came up in court because, although it was spent and thirty-two years old, it was relevant in terms of my criminality. The judges understood my mitigating circumstances and despite my barrister's (and the barista's) expectations of community service orders, I just got the fine. There may have been another cat woman on the panel. The point here is that Google has a public record more accessible than courtroom files. Any Tom Dick or cat hater can have access to previous newspaper articles, true or false, and privacy is a thing none of us control. How can a sentence be spent if it comes up on google every time someone puts in your name? Google has become the Nazi controllers of our personal histories which are now paraded about for public entertainment. And they are not even paying for it. Google is way worse than the clippers I met at Bow Street that fateful morning. They need to be stopped. I hope the gentleman wins his case.