Google pursued in court by Hong Kong-based businessman trying to get UK links to defamatory comments removed

A Hong Kong-based businessman who is seeking an injunction against Google has been given leave to serve proceedings on the California-based internet search giant out of the jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Bean also said the dispute between banker Daniel Hegglin and Google should also be dealt with at a full trial.

Hegglin is taking action against Google under sections 10 and 14 of the Data Protection Act 1998, covering the right to prevent data processing likely to cause damage and distress, and rectification, blocking, erasure and destruction.

Hegglin previously lived in the UK, and kept close connections with it – he owns a house here and is a director of a company which that was preparing to float on the London Stock Exchange.

But he had become the target of abusive and defamatory material posted on many websites by an anonymous individual.

He launched an action against Google under sections 10 and 14 of the Data Protection Act, seeking an injunction requiring the search giant to to block specific sites containing the allegations.

The court made a Norwich Pharmacal order was made.

Hegglin then amended his claim, seeking to require Google to take all reasonable technical steps as were necessary to ensure that the material did not appear as "snippets" in search results.

But Mr Justice Bean decided against allowing such an argument on short notice, and instead directed that that issue should be dealt with a a trial.

Because Google was incorporated in Delaware, Hegglin needed leave to serve the proceedings out of the jurisdiction.

Google argued that it had taken steps to remove and block the sites from its search results and that Hegglin needed to show a real basis for thinking that the conduct would be continued when, apart from some evidence of a threat to repeat by the anonymous poster, there had been little activity for ten months.

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