The Drum challenges 'right to be forgotten' ruling suppressing 2008 story about departure of former Love boss Alistair Sim

The Drum is challenging a ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling after an eight-year-old news story was suppressed from Google’s search results.

Earlier this week The Drum was served with a notice from Google that a news article from 2008, about Alistair Sim leaving his role as managing director of Love Creative following an assault conviction, would no longer appear in certain search results.

The notice explained that the page could no longer be shown because of a request under data protection law in Europe, but did not disclose which queries had been affected.

The Drum’s editor Stephen Lepitak said: "This was in many ways a tragic story and we appreciate why many of those involved want to move on, particularly the agency who were victims of an episode over which they had no control. But in saying that, we think it is quite wrong that history can be airbrushed in this way; it may be a negative part of this individual's life story, but it is part of that life story nevertheless.

"In order to accurately report the business is it important that our readers are given access to the whole story around big names and agencies, not just the things they want them to read."

The right to be forgotten has been met with opposition from other publishers, with the BBC and the Telegraph among the media companies that have published an index of their stories removed from the search engine.

But even that has not been enough to circumvent their stories from being hidden, with the Information Commissioner’s Office last year ordering Google to remove links to news articles cataloguing its removal of links.

As the Telegraph reported in August, the ICO is now ruling that subsequent coverage of Google’s removal of links should also be removed within 35 days, despite Google arguing that such articles were “an essential part of a recent news story relating to a matter of significant public importance”.

Google itself has expressed misgivings about the way the right to be forgotten should be interpreted. Last week, it appealed a ruling by France’s data protection regulator that search results scrubbed in France should also be removed worldwide.

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