Oi, Google! Remove links to that removed story, yells forceful ICO

You’ve got 35 days to comply, or else

Google has been ordered to remove links referencing a story it had already removed, Blighty's information watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, said late Thursday.

The search engine had previously removed links relating to an individual's minor criminal offence from more than ten years, following a take-down request.

However, nine search results referencing the criminal offence were still displayed when a search was made for the individual's name.

Google refused to remove the links, arguing they referenced articles that concerned one of its decisions to delist a search result, which were a matter of public importance.

The ICO has now issued an enforcement notice requiring the links to be removed from the search results within 35 days.

Since the so-called 'right to be forgotten' precedent set in the European Court of Justice in July last year, Google has received 298,099 removal requests.

Deputy commissioner at the ICO David Smith said: “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,” he added.

In January Google finally succumbed to the wishes of the ICO to change its privacy policy to comply with the Data Protection Act following an investigation.

The giant ad broker was slapped by the Information Commissioner's Office back in July 2013 for being "too vague" when describing how it uses personal data gathered from its web services and products.

Originally the ICO had ordered Google to change its privacy policy by October 2013. ®

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