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Tried... and Failed :(


Tried... and Failed :(

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Supreme Being
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Hi,

It recently came to my attention that a rather unsavoury website had made reference to my conviction many years after the fact, following this I became aware that information relating to my past had jumped back up the search ranks putting my livelihood and relatively solitary existence at possible risk, the extent to which certain "keywords" seemed to bring up my past was quite alarming so I decided to take the plunge and try and have the links removed...

My application to Google can be summarised as below:

For each URL you provided, please explain:

(1) how the linked URL relates to you (or, if you are submitting this form on behalf of someone else, why the page is about that person); and
(2) why the content on this URL in search results is distributed unlawfully, inaccurate, or outdated.

We may ask you to provide additional documents in support of your request. We will not be able to process your complaint without this information.

The supplied list of URL's  include personal details relating to a spent conviction, the provided URL's should not be included in search results as the conviction was spent in XXXX under the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), since the conviction has been wiped out by law and the duration which has elapsed my right to privacy outweighs any public interest. The reporting of a spent conviction (by means of search results or cached content etc.) is an act of defamation, the search results are no longer relevant since the conviction is spent, the search results are outdated by many years and otherwise inappropriate to be displayed as current events. I request that should you approve my application that you do not inform any webmaster(s) of the URLs listed above which would thereby reveal information pertaining to myself.

I represent that the information in this request is accurate and that I am the person affected by the web pages identified, or I am authorized by the person affected to submit this request.


I received a nice response almost instantly...

Hi, Thanks for reaching out to us!

We have received your legal request. Your message is in our queue, and we'll process your request as quickly as our workload permits. We may reach out to you for further information if needed for us to understand and handle your request.

Regards,
The Google Team



Well not surprisingly two weeks later this is the response I get back:

Hi, Thanks for reaching out to us!

With regards to the following URLs:

www.a.n.other.com

It is Google’s understanding that the information about you on this/these URLs - with regard to all the circumstances of the case we are aware of - is still relevant in relation to the purposes of data processing, and therefore the reference to this document in our search results is justified by the public interest.

At this time, Google has decided not to take action on these URLs.

You may wish to send your request for removal directly to the webmaster, who controls the site in question. The webmaster has the ability to remove the content in question from the web, or block it from appearing in search engines.

You can visit https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/9109 to learn how to contact a site's webmaster.

If outdated content from a site is still appearing in Google Search results, you can ask Google to update or remove the page using our webpage removal request tool at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals.

You may also have the right to raise this issue with your country’s data protection authority if you are unhappy with the decision that Google has taken.

Regards,
The Google Team



Well that's me thoroughly depressed for my efforts... any advice from the new spangled forum?


Edited
3 Years Ago by link
Debbie Sadler
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link - 24 Aug 16 9:45 PM
Hi,

It recently came to my attention that a rather unsavoury website had made reference to my conviction many years after the fact, following this I became aware that information relating to my past had jumped back up the search ranks putting my livelihood and relatively solitary existence at possible risk, the extent to which certain "keywords" seemed to bring up my past was quite alarming so I decided to take the plunge and try and have the links removed...

My application to Google can be summarised as below:

For each URL you provided, please explain:

(1) how the linked URL relates to you (or, if you are submitting this form on behalf of someone else, why the page is about that person); and
(2) why the content on this URL in search results is distributed unlawfully, inaccurate, or outdated.

We may ask you to provide additional documents in support of your request. We will not be able to process your complaint without this information.

The supplied list of URL's  include personal details relating to a spent conviction, the provided URL's should not be included in search results as the conviction was spent in XXXX under the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), since the conviction has been wiped out by law and the duration which has elapsed my right to privacy outweighs any public interest. The reporting of a spent conviction (by means of search results or cached content etc.) is an act of defamation, the search results are no longer relevant since the conviction is spent, the search results are outdated by many years and otherwise inappropriate to be displayed as current events. I request that should you approve my application that you do not inform any webmaster(s) of the URLs listed above which would thereby reveal information pertaining to myself.

I represent that the information in this request is accurate and that I am the person affected by the web pages identified, or I am authorized by the person affected to submit this request.


I received a nice response almost instantly...

Hi, Thanks for reaching out to us!

We have received your legal request. Your message is in our queue, and we'll process your request as quickly as our workload permits. We may reach out to you for further information if needed for us to understand and handle your request.

Regards,
The Google Team



Well not surprisingly two weeks later this is the response I get back:

Hi, Thanks for reaching out to us!

With regards to the following URLs:

www.a.n.other.com

It is Google’s understanding that the information about you on this/these URLs - with regard to all the circumstances of the case we are aware of - is still relevant in relation to the purposes of data processing, and therefore the reference to this document in our search results is justified by the public interest.

At this time, Google has decided not to take action on these URLs.

You may wish to send your request for removal directly to the webmaster, who controls the site in question. The webmaster has the ability to remove the content in question from the web, or block it from appearing in search engines.

You can visit https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/9109 to learn how to contact a site's webmaster.

If outdated content from a site is still appearing in Google Search results, you can ask Google to update or remove the page using our webpage removal request tool at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals.

You may also have the right to raise this issue with your country’s data protection authority if you are unhappy with the decision that Google has taken.

Regards,
The Google Team



Well that's me thoroughly depressed for my efforts... any advice from the new spangled forum?


Hi Link

Looks like you might be one of the first to post on the 'new spangled forum' - thanks for that.

Really disappointing response from Google.  Your next step should be to make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office - you can do it online .  Just this week we've heard from somebody who did just that. The ICO agreed that the information was outdated and no longer relevant and instructed Google to remove the link.  So it's well worth a try.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.  




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Hi Debbie,

Its taken me almost four weeks to pluck up the courage but I have finally decided to take your advice and send a complaint to the ICO, I do not hold out much hope given the response I got from Google but I shall update you with the results.

I also found some interesting links here:

https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/europeprivacy/?hl=en


Edited
3 Years Ago by link
Debbie Sadler
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link - 16 Sep 16 3:19 AM
Hi Debbie,

Its taken me almost four weeks to pluck up the courage but I have finally decided to take your advice and send a complaint to the ICO, I do not hold out much hope given the response I got from Google but I shall update you with the results.

I also found some interesting links here:

https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/europeprivacy/?hl=en


Hi Link

Glad to hear that you've contacted the ICO. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get a positive result.

Thanks for sending the link over, not sure if you saw this but, in light of your contact with the ICO it looks pretty positive

'After we removed a news story about a minor crime, the newspaper published a story about the removal action. The Information Commissioner’s Office ordered us to remove the second story from search results for the individual’s name. We removed the page from search results for the individual's name.'

Look forward to hearing some great news soon.

Debs 

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Deb S - 16 Sep 16 8:33 AM
[quote]
link - 16 Sep 16 3:19 AM
'After we removed a news story about a minor crime, the newspaper published a story about the removal action. The Information Commissioner’s Office ordered us to remove the second story from search results for the individual’s name. We removed the page from search results for the individual's name.'

Look forward to hearing some great news soon.

Debs 

I saw another one that said:

"A man asked that we remove a link to a news summary of a local magistrate’s decisions that included the man’s guilty verdict. Under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, this conviction has been spent. We have removed the page from search results for his name."

This seems no different at all from link's situation (or anyone else on here with a spent conviction) - hopefully it will work out!
link
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I have finally received a response from the ICO... sadly not the one I hoped for, basically unless your very popular by Google standards the ROA and CJEU bear no impact on us normal folk.  Sad

I am writing in relation to your concern about Google’s refusal to remove search engine results containing information about you. We are now in a position to provide you with our decision.
 
You contacted Google to request removal of links resulting from a search on your name. You explained that you wanted these results removed because they relate to a conviction that is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974).
 
Google refused your request on the basis that the information is still relevant in relation to the purposes of data processing.

We have developed a list of factors we will take into account when considering concerns from individuals whose requests have been refused. Further information about our criteria is available at:
 
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/online/internet-search-results/
 
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruling in May 2014 relates specifically to search results made against an individual’s name. It is our view that if other identifiers need to be added, or if the material can only be accessed by inputting a specific URL, then that does not constitute information generally available to the public by a search on an individual’s name and is therefore not covered by the CJEU judgement.
 
The judgement recognised the particular impact that an internet search based on an individual’s name can have on his or her respect for private life. However, it is important to note that the judgement only applies to results returned when searching for a name on its own, and not, for example, a name combined with other search terms.
 
None of the search results you are concerned about appear in the first ten pages of a search on *INSERT NAME* and only two of them appear when adding *INSERT PLACE* to the search term, which in any event does not meet the criteria of the CJEU judgement. In view of this we will not be progressing your concern at this stage.

 
If you can provide a screen-print showing that the results do in fact appear based on a search on your name, then we could look at the matter again.

However, we would require some evidence that the conviction is actually spent (a news report showing the sentence and date of the sentence would suffice).

I should also explain that the fact that a conviction is spent is only one of the criteria we take into consideration. It is also relevant that the information is published in a journalistic context. We recognise the importance of search results in making journalistic content available to the public. We take the importance of journalism and the public’s right to receive and impart information into account when considering complaints about links to journalistic content. We acknowledge that freedom of expression is a fundamental right.
 
If you disagree with the view we have provided, please note that individuals are entitled to take their own cases to court under section 10 of the DPA, irrespective of our decision. The ICO cannot assist individual court applications, and we recommend that you seek independent legal advice if you pursue this option.


Debbie Sadler
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link - 1 Nov 16 9:36 PM

I have finally received a response from the ICO... sadly not the one I hoped for, basically unless your very popular by Google standards the ROA and CJEU bear no impact on us normal folk.  Sad

I am writing in relation to your concern about Google’s refusal to remove search engine results containing information about you. We are now in a position to provide you with our decision.
 
You contacted Google to request removal of links resulting from a search on your name. You explained that you wanted these results removed because they relate to a conviction that is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974).
 
Google refused your request on the basis that the information is still relevant in relation to the purposes of data processing.

We have developed a list of factors we will take into account when considering concerns from individuals whose requests have been refused. Further information about our criteria is available at:
 
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/online/internet-search-results/
 
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruling in May 2014 relates specifically to search results made against an individual’s name. It is our view that if other identifiers need to be added, or if the material can only be accessed by inputting a specific URL, then that does not constitute information generally available to the public by a search on an individual’s name and is therefore not covered by the CJEU judgement.
 
The judgement recognised the particular impact that an internet search based on an individual’s name can have on his or her respect for private life. However, it is important to note that the judgement only applies to results returned when searching for a name on its own, and not, for example, a name combined with other search terms.
 
None of the search results you are concerned about appear in the first ten pages of a search on *INSERT NAME* and only two of them appear when adding *INSERT PLACE* to the search term, which in any event does not meet the criteria of the CJEU judgement. In view of this we will not be progressing your concern at this stage.

 
If you can provide a screen-print showing that the results do in fact appear based on a search on your name, then we could look at the matter again.

However, we would require some evidence that the conviction is actually spent (a news report showing the sentence and date of the sentence would suffice).

I should also explain that the fact that a conviction is spent is only one of the criteria we take into consideration. It is also relevant that the information is published in a journalistic context. We recognise the importance of search results in making journalistic content available to the public. We take the importance of journalism and the public’s right to receive and impart information into account when considering complaints about links to journalistic content. We acknowledge that freedom of expression is a fundamental right.
 
If you disagree with the view we have provided, please note that individuals are entitled to take their own cases to court under section 10 of the DPA, irrespective of our decision. The ICO cannot assist individual court applications, and we recommend that you seek independent legal advice if you pursue this option.


Hi Link

This is really really disappointing.  

Not sure if you've seen our post on the Information Hub about the work we're doing with Carter Ruck around the publication of spent convictions but this might be something that could be of interest.

I've attached a link to further details here - https://hub.unlock.org.uk/online-spent-legal/.

If I were in your shoes I'd really give Carter Ruck a go - they are willing to act on a no win no fee basis and hopefully, the more examples they can demonstrate of this type of thing, the bigger the chance of success.

Feel free to give the helpline a ring if you think we can be of any further help with this.

Good luck.

Debs 

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rme123
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Hi Link,

Being in a similar position myself, I know how difficult this must be. If it's any consolation though, it sounds like the link in question doesn't appear very high in the search engine rankings - and I once read that 98% of people don't go past the first page. Of course, it doesn't really help when people add additional search terms to refine what they're looking for - and I'm staggered that this is somehow exempt / overlooked by the CJEU judgement. 

I actually sent off a request to the ICO today, but despite my conviction having been spent for almost 3 years now, I don't hold out much hope (it's one of "those" offences). If it doesn't work this time, I may well get in touch with Carter Ruck (thanks to Unlock for setting this up btw).

If you decide to go down that road, let us know how you get on.
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rme123 - 4 Nov 16 12:09 PM

Hi Link,

Being in a similar position myself, I know how difficult this must be. If it's any consolation though, it sounds like the link in question doesn't appear very high in the search engine rankings - and I once read that 98% of people don't go past the first page. Of course, it doesn't really help when people add additional search terms to refine what they're looking for - and I'm staggered that this is somehow exempt / overlooked by the CJEU judgement. 

I actually sent off a request to the ICO today, but despite my conviction having been spent for almost 3 years now, I don't hold out much hope (it's one of "those" offences). If it doesn't work this time, I may well get in touch with Carter Ruck (thanks to Unlock for setting this up btw).

If you decide to go down that road, let us know how you get on.
I've had similar issues, they make it difficult for you too. Having to list every URL you want removing....
link
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Hi RME,

Mine was also one of "those" so I expect you will get a similar if not template reply from the ICO, it took about eight weeks so don't expect a quick reply. 

I briefly considered the whole 'no win, no fee' thing but in all honesty any legal avenue lands you back in court and into the public domain... In all honesty I have too much to lose in risking it, the Google effect weighs on my mind more than the reality of it actually occurring and getting it removed from search.co.uk still doesn't absolve the fact it can turn up on othersearch.com etc.

Good luck with your request. 
GO


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