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Google Has to Hit Delete After Right to Be Forgotten Turns to Crime

• By Jonathan Browning

Google's effort to rein in the so-called right to be forgotten has taken a hit after U.K. and French judges said the reputation of businessmen tarnished by old news stories about improper conduct trumped the public's need to know.

Google was told by a London judge on Friday for the first time to remove links to older stories about a businessman's criminal conviction from search results. The decision follows last month's ruling by a French court about a former chief financial officer whose job prospects were hampered by stories about a fine for civil insider-trading violations.

The European rulings are starting to stack up, hurting Google's ability to fight future court cases over how far it should go to delete links. It comes amid a storm of European criticism over U.S. technology companies' ability to protect user privacy.Facebook Inc. is embroiled in a scandal over revelations that the data of tens of millions of people was improperly shared with a political consulting firm.

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