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Successful removal from Google


Successful removal from Google

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Who.me
Who.me
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I was prompted to explore the options for removing Google search results earlier this week, after media stories about my previous conviction prevented me from being appointed to the vice-chairmanship of my trade body, the board of which I already sit on. It was very much a case that it wasn't the spent conviction which was the issue (which is fully declared, even though it doesn't need to be now that it's spent) but the media articles - alas, sadly, I have a pretty uncommon name, and a pretty distinctive appearance, meaning typing my name into Google revealed a full page of negative publicity. The trade body were concerned about the embarrassment this could cause, and the potential commercial implications - quite understandable!

For background, the alleged offence itself was one of dishonesty, and allegedly took place over a decade ago. I was convicted at trial 7 years ago, and given a short suspended sentence with unpaid work requirement, which I completed without question or further issue. The conviction is therefore spent, and has been for some time.

I say allegedly, as I've always maintained my innocence - however I fully accept that whilst I didn't do what I was accused of, there's plenty I DID do wrong in my youth which I was never punished for, so I took it on the chin and moved on with my life. Since conviction I've dedicated my life to trying to make difference in my community, running charitable projects to help those less fortunate, and building a social business which helps provide employment for a large number of local people. I've always been quite upfront about my past, but have asked people to judge me on the person they know now and the work they see me doing, not on what I was accused of so many years ago, and for the most part that's worked out well. Unfortunately however the conviction has still reared it's ugly head from time to time, due to the media coverage and internet search results, and whilst I've always just sucked it up this week I felt I had to try and do something if I was to avoid being a prisoner of my past for the rest of my life.

I found the Unlock article on Google removal, and followed the instructions just a couple of days ago. To my amazement, I received a reply from them within 24hrs confirming they would remove the links, and within a day they'd gone! 

Hopefully now, whilst I'll continue to be honest about my past when it's appropriate as that past has helped to make me who I am today and fuels so much of what I do, I'll also be able to avoid the embarrassment of having that being everybody's first impression of me. As well as my charity and community work, and sitting on the board that I do, I'm also becoming involved with local politics and trying to make a difference there too, but again this has proven a stumbling block as whilst it's not a bar to becoming involved or even running for elected office should I ever decide to do so, it makes having any kind of reasonable debate impossible when those who oppose your views merely throw various Daily Mail articles back in your face!

Massive thanks Unlock, this will make such a difference to my life and, in a roundabout way, to the lives of the people I work to support. 
khafka
khafka
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It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

AB2014
AB2014
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khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

khafka
khafka
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AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:07 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

ICO is relevant up here too. I tried them initially and it ended up causing a bunch of further issues as they ended up actually contacting one of the database websites and told them I want my stuff removed from their site which led to the aforementioned website further posting stuff about me online saying how I wanted to be removed etc.

I put in a complaint to ICO as I did explicitly state I didn't want this to happen as I had a feeling something similar would happen. They send a stock sorry email and closed the complaint so I was pretty deflated and upset about my experience with them to be honest.

Edited
5 Months Ago by khafka
AB2014
AB2014
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khafka - 4 Feb 22 3:24 PM
AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:07 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

ICO is relevant up here too. I tried them initially and it ended up causing a bunch of further issues as they ended up actually contacting one of the database websites and told them I want my stuff removed from their site which led to the aforementioned website further posting stuff about me online saying how I wanted to be removed etc.

I put in a complaint to ICO as I did explicitly state I didn't want this to happen as I had a feeling something similar would happen. They send a stock sorry email and closed the complaint so I was pretty deflated and upset about my experience with them to be honest.

Sounds like they completely mis-handled it. They should't be bothering with the websites, just directing Google to remove the links. That's all there is to it. In the circumstances, you could try again and make it clear it's just about Google. Hopefully, this time they'll read it properly.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

khafka
khafka
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AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:41 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 3:24 PM
AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:07 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

ICO is relevant up here too. I tried them initially and it ended up causing a bunch of further issues as they ended up actually contacting one of the database websites and told them I want my stuff removed from their site which led to the aforementioned website further posting stuff about me online saying how I wanted to be removed etc.

I put in a complaint to ICO as I did explicitly state I didn't want this to happen as I had a feeling something similar would happen. They send a stock sorry email and closed the complaint so I was pretty deflated and upset about my experience with them to be honest.

Sounds like they completely mis-handled it. They should't be bothering with the websites, just directing Google to remove the links. That's all there is to it. In the circumstances, you could try again and make it clear it's just about Google. Hopefully, this time they'll read it properly.

Yeah, I suspect that's what it was. I might give it another go.

You reckon it's worth pinging Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. first or just going full tilt with ICO?

Mr W
Mr W
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khafka - 4 Feb 22 3:24 PM
AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:07 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

ICO is relevant up here too. I tried them initially and it ended up causing a bunch of further issues as they ended up actually contacting one of the database websites and told them I want my stuff removed from their site which led to the aforementioned website further posting stuff about me online saying how I wanted to be removed etc.

I put in a complaint to ICO as I did explicitly state I didn't want this to happen as I had a feeling something similar would happen. They send a stock sorry email and closed the complaint so I was pretty deflated and upset about my experience with them to be honest.

That's appalling, not only by the ICO but that company posting new stuff regurgitating your past. Really sorry to hear that, you didn't deserve it.

=====
Fighting or Accepting - its difficult to know which is right and when.
khafka
khafka
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Mr W - 6 Feb 22 3:54 AM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 3:24 PM
AB2014 - 4 Feb 22 3:07 PM
khafka - 4 Feb 22 12:33 PM
It seems to be very hit or miss. I've tried twice now and been rejected both times.

My most recent attempt was in January 2022. My conviction has been spent for 2 years, nobody has Googled me since 2019.

It's only about 4 or 5 sites that have my information. A couple of news ones and Facebook linking the news articles. They have refused the removal on both times because it is seemingly still within the public interest which is absolute nonsense.

Well, if you'd been in England, I'd say contact the Information Commissioner's Office, so I'd say try the equivalent in Scotland.

ICO is relevant up here too. I tried them initially and it ended up causing a bunch of further issues as they ended up actually contacting one of the database websites and told them I want my stuff removed from their site which led to the aforementioned website further posting stuff about me online saying how I wanted to be removed etc.

I put in a complaint to ICO as I did explicitly state I didn't want this to happen as I had a feeling something similar would happen. They send a stock sorry email and closed the complaint so I was pretty deflated and upset about my experience with them to be honest.

That's appalling, not only by the ICO but that company posting new stuff regurgitating your past. Really sorry to hear that, you didn't deserve it.

"Company" is a rather diplomatic way of putting it haha. I can't remember the guy's name, it's Chris Whitwer or something like that. He had a database website before and was taken to court over it and was ordered to take it down, he's since built a new one however that ended up riddled with malware and now seems to be private so that's a good start...

"Official" outlets I wouldn't mind too much about them reaching out such as actual newspapers and the like as they're theoretically governed correctly and there is a proper chain of authority I can go through as opposed to some random dude in his bedroom with a Wordpress site and a Facebook page.

khafka
khafka
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Well I thought I'd just give a small update on this.

I have followed Unlock's template/advice from the site for Google (if I'm successful I will move onto Bing and some other main search engines to cover myself). This is actually the first time I've Googled myself in a long time and was something that filled me with a little bit of dread to be honest seeing some of it coming back however I was a little relieved to see that there are barely any results. 2 x local news reports (have since been archived on their website), 2 X Facebook (linking/talking about the news reports).

So wish me luck this time! We'll see how it goes.

khafka
khafka
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Well, an update. They've refused me again. Supposedly it's still in the public interest... Load of shite. Going to speak to ICO and see what they say.

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

We had a look at these URLs:

[REDACTED] - Facebook URL
[REDACTED] - Facebook URL

Google Search ranks the results displayed to each user differently, depending on hundreds of variables. A Search results page displayed to one user in response to a particular query may be different from the Search results page displayed to another user for the exact same query. Furthermore, there may be hundreds of thousands of results, or more, many of which may not be of concern to you.

In order to ensure that we review the same URLs that you see in your Search results page, please send us the actual URLs of the content that is the subject of your complaint, in plain-text, soft-copy form.

To find a website’s URL on a desktop computer:

  Type your query into the search box on Google.com & click Google Search.
  Right-click the title of the site in question & click Copy Link Address.
  Paste the copied URL into your reply to this email.

Please note that we cannot accept URLs that begin with https://www.google.com/search?

To find an image’s URL on a desktop computer

  Click the image in the search results
  Click the three dot share icon
  In the popup window, click the text that says “Click to copy link”
  In your email reply to us, right-click & then click "Paste" to add the URL to the email

Please note that for images, the URL should begin with https://images.app.goo.gl/ or https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl.

Without specific URLs, we cannot consider your request.

We had a look at these URLs:
[REDACTED]
[REDACTED]
[REDACTED]
[REDACTED]

We've decided not to delist this content. In the light of all the circumstances of the case we are aware of, the information about you on these pages is still relevant to the public interest, so it will stay in our search results. We have based our decision on factors like the nature and seriousness of the offence in question, the progress and the outcome of the proceedings, the time elapsed, your part played in public life and past conduct, the form of the publication and the consequences of publication.

Based on the information available to us at this time, Google LLC has decided not to take action on these URLs.

You could send your removal request straight to the site's webmaster. The webmaster controls the site, so they can remove the content in question, and block it from appearing in search engines. Take a look at the Google Search Help to learn how to contact a site's webmaster.

If you can still see in Google Search results old content from a site that has been modified or removed by the webmaster, please use this tool to update Google Search results. For more information, please visit this page.

You may also have the right to raise this issue with your country’s data protection authority or seek a judicial remedy if you are unhappy with the decision that Google LLC has taken at this time. However if you have any additional information you would like evaluated as part of your request, please consider providing it to us first by responding to this message. In the communication with the data protection authority, you may wish to include the reference number of [REDACTED] and a copy of your form submission confirmation for this request to Google LLC.

For more information about how Google LLC makes these decisions, you can visit the Transparency Report Help Center. The Help Center has information about how we delist URLs under European data protection law, including the key factors in making these decisions.

Regards,

The Google Team

GO


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