An interesting article appeared in Le Monde today about web cleaners. This are Internet companies that help you remove unwanted information from Internet. Sometimes this just happens by intimidation and sometimes they are helped by the law. And it does cost a lot.
This beckons the question of what is unwanted or illegal information and whether you can or should do something against it. What is illegal in one country is not illegal in another country. The ‘Right to be Forgotten’ exists in one country, but not in another (cf). And does this imply that this information is removed from archives as well? Or only by online access? Aren’t we rewriting/forging history then?
historic information is often unwanted, as it has repercussions for the present. Your new employer finds your kinky pictures on Facebook. Your present employer finds your CV on the Internet and fires you for disloyalty. And probably you are unable to prevent want is published on the Internet. So cleaning is just not possible. One needs to find another tactic.
The tactic I prefer is to take one’s reputation in one’s own hands. Create a blog, show who you are, get involved. Your information will drown any defamation present on the Internet. Make sure that the top 100 answers in Google are really about you and under your control. And hopefully people do not search any deeper.
And if you want to publish filth, use an alias that can not be tracked to you. This might need some education and is maybe a business opportunity.
But most of all, employers, journalists, governments, etc, must be educated on the use of data they find on the Internet and learn to put things in perspective. Or we will just end up with grey, boring people in important positions.