The Court ruled criminal records can be held on police computers for ‘as long as they feel necessary', and can be shared with the Criminal Records Bureau, which has the right to show the records to employers or prospective employers.
Anna Fairclough, a lawyer at civil rights organisation Liberty, specialises in privacy litigation. She said: "Exceptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and the net of employment vetting are being cast so wide that people will be forever haunted by the minor indiscretions of their youth.
"We need a tighter reign on the circumstances when spent convictions can be disclosed. The Independent Safeguarding Authority was supposed to address the balance between personal privacy and the protection of the vulnerable but it is in danger of collapsing under the stain of irrelevant information and excessive checks.
"This judgment forgets the privacy rights of millions of people and we hope it is appealed."