A High Court judge’s ruling on litigation featuring two businessmen who want Google to stop linking their names to media reports about past crimes will have implications for everyone, a lawyer says.
The two men both say their convictions are legally “spent” and that they have been rehabilitated.
They argue that they have a right to be forgotten, but Google bosses disagree.
Mr Justice Warby has analysed issues at two High Court trials in London.
He is due to publish a ruling on Friday.
Lawyers say the cases are the first of their kind to be aired in England.
“There is an inherent tension between an individual’s right to privacy and what information the public interest requires be available,” said solicitor Ben Rose, who is based at law firm Hickman & Rose.
“One of the many arenas in which this issue plays out is in access to information about someone’s previous criminal convictions.
“The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 sought to strike a balance on this thorny topic.
“That held good until the internet and Google’s powerful search engine rather undid matters.”
He added: “The right to be forgotten litigation requires the courts to once again consider where that balance lies, a question which has implications for us all.”
Mr Justice Warby has made orders barring the men from being identified in media reports about the litigation.