Did Google knowingly ridicule the 'right to be forgotten' ruling by removing Robert Peston's blog?

Chris Boffey is a former news editor of the Observer, Sunday Telegraph and the Mirror and onetime special adviser to the Labour government.

In that eternal debate, was it cock-up or conspiracy, I normally line up on the cock-up side but sometimes it is hard to know.

Take the decision by Google to send Robert Peston, the ebullient BBC economics editor, a notice informing him that in compliance with European law an article he had published in 2007 about former Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal would no longer be shown in search results.

There have been 50,000 attempts by people to use the new law, nicknamed "the right to be forgotten", but somehow Peston, no shrinking violet, was sent one of the first "notices of removal". There may be faster ways of ridiculing the European statute but this was the equivalent of pouring vast amounts of petrol on a fire.

Google had fought against the law and lost, so was this attempt to gag Peston its way of highlighting the true nature of the law, knowing that he would explode like a verbal grenade? Well, if it is conspiracy, hats off to Google in lighting Peston's blue touch paper.

Within minutes he had written a blog for his BBC column and the story was picked up by every news outlet and social media. We have not been told who wanted the article removed from history but thankfully it has been given a prominence that the original never had. With all due respect to Peston, there are not many who can remember what he wrote seven months ago never mind seven years ago when he penned his piece on O'Neal leaving the investment bank under a cloud after significant losses following misguided investment deals.

If Google really wants to exploit the publicity and rally opposition to the new law I suggest it sends notices to Nigel Farage, Margaret Hodge, John Humphrys and Sun editor David Dinsmore.

This week there has been good news about the UK attempt to gag the press. Dominic Grieve, the attorney-general has dropped plans to force media organisations to remove online articles that jurors might see and therefore prejudice a trial. The press would have faced contempt of court charges if they failed to remove the potentially prejudicial articles.

Publishers will now be responsible for monitoring the their archives to ensure there is no prejudicial material but there will be no government requests. The Society of Editors who fought the proposal, said there would have been huge practical problems if defence lawyers sought blanket orders for material that jurors might see to be taken down.

Bob Satchwell, executive editor of the society, said "It would have been wrong in principle for a member of the government to have the power to order media organisations to remove material."