Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Google erases link to News & Star article under ‘right to be forgotten’

Two stories about a Cumbrian man can no longer be viewed via an internet search engine following a European court judgement.


The court cases reported by the News & Star and its sister paper The Cumberland News are among successful requests and Google has said it will no longer be able to show the cases among results on its European search engine.

Although the links to the reports will no longer be available via a search, they can be accessed directly from our websites or via

Both relate to a Kirkby Stephen man called Simon Modlin, but it is not known who submitted the requests to Google and why.

The first, published in May 2010, was a report of a court case in which Modlin was ordered to pay £100 compensation after he admitted using abusive and threatening behaviour towards a ticket collector on a Carlisle-Leeds train.

He was given a conditional discharge after magistrates heard his behaviour was affected by serious health problems.

The second online article, published in August 2007, was after Modlin appeared before Eden magistrates and admitted two public order offences, criminal damage, and failing to answer bail.

The court heard Modlin, who was banned from the premises, verbally abused the landlady after she’d asked him to stop writing messages in wet cement on a wall that was being built behind the pub.

The News & Star has been unable to contact Modlin.

It is the first time articles published online by the News & Star and The Cumberland News have been affected by May’s controversial European Court of Justice ruling.

In May, the court said that links to irrelevant and outdated data should be erased from searches on request.

Google is assessing every request before deciding on what action to take.

The judgement has sparked concerns about news stories and other previously public information being hidden in what has become known as ‘the right to be forgotten’.

In its official notice of removal, Google said: “Due to a request under data protection law in Europe, we are no longer able to show one or more pages from your site in our search results in response to some search queries for names or other personal identifiers.

“Only results on European versions of Google are affected. These pages have not been blocked entirely from our search results, and will continue to appear for queries other than those specified by individuals in the European data protection law requests we have honored. Unfortunately, due to individual privacy concerns, we are not able to disclose which queries have been affected.”

Google has received about 91,000 such requests since the ruling came into force.



What has been dubbed ‘The right to be forgotten’ is a curious European law deserving of a more accurate name.

It is actually a right to be more difficult to find - as those under impression their personal history can be erased from public record are now discovering.

The News & Star and its sister paper The Cumberland News have been affected by the European ruling recently. Ours are not the only newspaper websites to have felt the impact of the judgement which can direct major search engines - such as Google - to break links to information some people want airbrushed from their lives.

The information is still there - court convictions for example - but should be sourced through news websites and/or search engines outside of European influence, as is

Though a typically incomplete and almost incomprehensible directive from Europe, there is within it the beginnings of a slippery slope leading to your right to be denied information to which you are entitled.

It marks the start of acceptance that history can lawfully be censored.

That in itself is an astonishing and intolerable concept.

Already we are denied too much information we should be able to rely on as being in the public domain.

Further moves to keep us in the dark, by making history’s facts more difficult to see, seriously curb fundamental rights to know.

Have your say

@Dave - victims of crime are put in an awful situation and it is terrible that they have to suffer. However justice should not be about revenge, as that is not beneficial to society. Approaching justice from a revenge point of view makes criminals more likely to reoffend and that is clearly to the detriment of a society.

Approaching justice from a rehabilitative perspective lowers re-offence rates significantly, meaning less crime overall. Yes it's sad that the original victim has to suffer, but when faced with a choice of making things better for 99/100 people or letting one person feel "revenge", I think the choice is pretty obvious.

Posted by Alice on 6 August 2014 at 15:38

@ME YEs I did read the article then again some people can be grown up and mature then again you can live in the past and never move on. Don't suppose your family has never had a criminal don't think so if you look hard enough in history there will be more than one skeleton every family. That's life even Prime Ministers Presidents and heads of State have secrets so just think.

Posted by Anon on 1 August 2014 at 19:32

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