The ICO has ordered Google to remove links to news stories repeating information it already took down due to the EU's 'right to be forgotten' ruling.
At the request of an unnamed individual, the search giant had previously removed a list of results displayed when a search was made by entering their name that included links relating to a minor criminal offence committed by the individual almost ten years ago.
But this removal became a news story in itself and a series of articles that repeated details of the original criminal offence, were then part of the results displayed when searching for the complainant’s name on Google.
Google refused a subsequent request from the complainant for these later links to be removed from search results, arguing that the articles were an essential part of a recent news story relating to a matter of significant public importance.
But now the ICO has ordered Google to remove the nine offending search results after ruling that the ability to find this information by searching for the victim's name had an unwarranted and negative impact on the individual’s privacy and is a breach of the Data Protection Act.
Deputy Commissioner David Smith said: “The European court ruling last year was clear that links prompted by searching on an individual’s name are subject to data protection rules. That means they shouldn’t include personal information that is no longer relevant.
“Google was right, in its original decision, to accept that search results relating to the complainant’s historic conviction were no longer relevant and were having a negative impact on privacy. It is wrong of them to now refuse to remove newer links that reveal the same details and have the same negative impact.”
“Let’s be clear. We understand that links being removed as a result of this court ruling is something that newspapers want to write about. And we understand that people need to be able to find these stories through search engines like Google. But that does not need them to be revealed when searching on the original complainant’s name.”
The ICO has issued an enforcement notice requiring the links to be removed from the search results within 35 days.