The European Court of Justice has recently ordered Google to remove links after finding that search engines did have a duty to make sure data deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” did not appear. It all arose after a Spanish national found that searches on his name revealed a 1998 newspaper article on his financial problems. He argued that the information was well in the past – he had paid off his debts and it was now years later – essentially that he had the right for this information to be forgotten (no argument that it was not in any way not true or correct). How you view the world will very much dictate how you respond to the decision.
Here in New Zealand, the only clear right to be forgotten is contained in our “clean slate” legislation which is designed to allow those with less serious criminal convictions who have been conviction free for at least seven years to put their past behind them. However, Chris regularly helps those who want information about them to be removed from the internet – a posting may be defamatory (see Defamation section) – however it may simply be stale or not representative of the “full picture” thereby giving a false impression.
A new tool available to victims of social media is the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (“HDCA”). Under the HDCA, if an individual has suffered, or will suffer “serious emotional distress” from any form of electronic communication, they have three avenues of distress. These include laying a complaint with the Approved Agency, applying for an order from the District Court, or approaching the online content host itself. Chris can assist in resolving internet and social media issues through whichever avenue is most appropriate in the circumstances.