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July 16, 2014

New York Times speaks to Igniyte about the ‘right to be forgotten’

The New York Times speaks to Simon about the ‘right to be forgotten’ and looks at how businesses are profiting from the ruling.

Last week the New York Times reported on businesses profiting from the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling – they approached Igniyte for a comment too.

The legislation, which allows individuals to request links about them are removed from the Internet, has opened the way for a number of new business opportunities and companies are finding ways to cash in – whether they have the experience or not.

“A search engine like Google should allow online users to be “forgotten” after a certain time by erasing links to web pages unless there are “particular reasons” not to.” European Court of Justice

Igniyte is one of the longest established and leading experts in online reputation management in Europe. And yet, even Igniyte is finding the ruling difficult to evaluate. Google rejected almost all the initial requests we made on behalf of our clients. The submissions failed because Google insisted that the links to information were in the public interest and must remain online. It is a learning process, even for the more experienced of us.

‘Right to be forgotten’ – will it work?

Since the European Union (EU) ruling was passed in May, a number of high profile cases to be hidden using the ‘right to be forgotten’, have come to light. Earlier this month The Telegraph reported that a five year old story on the Islamic marriage of George Osborne’s brother was hidden by Google. The paper also reported that Google ‘restricted access to a BBC blog’.

What the Internet holds is a massive concern for many people, especially those in the public eye. But it’s not just the rich and famous who are worried. There are many others, who prior to posting ill-advised content, or having unwanted information posted about them online, were relatively unknown. But the risk to their online reputation is just as valid. Potential employees, teachers, college and university admissions officers, business partners, customers – in fact everyone – has the ability, and an increasing inclination, to search for information about others online.

In some respects the EU ruling is working in the interest of the public. But ‘right to be forgotten’ is undefined and it still seems we still have a long way to go before we see clarity. The irony is that the individual who brought the original case against Google that resulted in the ruling, is now known worldwide.

Simon Hughes, Justice Minister, declared, last week, that the new European law on the right to be forgotten was ‘technically unenforceable and would lead to thousands of misconceived complaints.’

How Igniyte can help

Igniyte’s core business is helping individuals, companies and brands to improve their online reputation through better web presence. We help clients find solutions that will help them build a healthy online profile that will deliver good page one results for their key search terms.

We do this by assisting clients to develop a portfolio of digital assets that will work for them – from a strong website to proactive social media accounts and blogs. We support them with online PR and good communications. We help them evaluate what stories will work for them. And, if they’ve made a mistake, which is circulating in the media, we help them to counteract any poor search results with positive news.

Our work is not about helping criminals or disgraced ministers to hide information that is in the public interest. We work with genuine people and organisations that are trying to understand how to get the most out of the Internet and use the web in a constructive way.

If you need further advice about the ‘right to be forgotten’ or other online issues you may be facing please contact me for a confidential discussion.

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