Sarah Booker

04/07/2014

Bravo to Oxford Mail tackling “right to be forgotten” ruling

I admire Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill’s stand against Google removing a story about a theft.

By writing about the move he keeps the story alive.

It is a prime example of the Streisand effect. You want it to go away but the noise gets louder.

During my eight years as a web editor with the Worthing Herald series and The Argus I lost count of the number of times people asked me to remove stories about convictions.

Invariably news stories came up on search engines causing problems for the individual.

Usually the person had kept quiet about the conviction and ended up losing a job, occasionally it caused problems with their family and friends.

This was always the newspapers’ fault for publishing, not theirs for committing a crime.

When the European Court of Justice ruled Google (PDF) should remove articles from search engines at user request I wondered what publishers would do to counteract it.

The message to people who want to hide their misdeeds is to be honest with the people you know.

Admit to your crime, however minor, and get on with what life throws at you.

Better still, keep within the law.

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