Asher contacted our helpline for advice on getting online information about his conviction removed.
He explained that his conviction was almost 20 years old and was now spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. However, anybody who searched for his name online would very quickly find out about his conviction for theft which had resulted in a short prison sentence.
“The media reports from that time make for really uncomfortable reading and portray me as a thoroughly heinous individual. I know it’s been written in that way to sell the story but I’ve become aware recently that employers do informal checks on potential applicants using the internet and I know I’d never get an interview let alone a job if an employer were to read this.“
The helpline advisor explained that following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in May 2014, individuals could request the deletion or removal of personal data published online, often referred to as ‘the right to be forgotten’.
The advisor told Asher that he could apply to Google to have the links to his name removed using their online application form. He would need to provide Google with the URL link for each site on which his name appeared and then explain why the search result was ‘irrelevant, outdated or inappropriate’. The advisor gave Asher a link to a template document which he could use as the basis for his application to Google.
Asher got back in touch with Unlock a couple of weeks later to say:
“Google have removed the URLs relating to my name and spent conviction. I’m incredibly grateful for your advice and delighted by the action taken by Google as well as being surprised at how quickly it was resolved”.
As this case demonstrates, Google will often remove links to your name very quickly if you are able to demonstrate that your conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and that it is no longer relevant or appropriate for it to remain online.
- Practical information: The ‘google effect’, internet search results and the right to be forgotten
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
Published March 2021.