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Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Thu 05 Feb, 2015 3:14 pm
by admin
Over the years we have occasionally been contacted by people requested that we remove information or blog items about their criminal convictions.

What is the general view about this? Should we remove these [factually correct] items or refuse to airbrush history?

Whilst freedom of information and free speech (within the law) are important principles, it could be argued that the rehabilitation of offenders be factored in to any such decision.

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Thu 05 Feb, 2015 8:42 pm
by Darcy Sarto
As you intimate the guidelines (stemming from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) regarding how long ago and at what age a period of imprisonment took place before it is considered "spent" would seem to be a sensible basis for a forum policy.

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Thu 05 Feb, 2015 9:41 pm
by Steve
Who said anything about imprisonment? :)

Darcy Sarto wrote:As you intimate the guidelines (stemming from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) regarding how long ago and at what age a period of imprisonment took place before it is considered "spent" would seem to be a sensible basis for a forum policy.

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 12:59 am
by Darcy Sarto
The guidelines do - as per link below:

http://disclose.me.uk/resources/table-o ... ilitation/

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 2:33 am
by admin
Those who have contacted Discover Hertford Online have not necessarily been imprisoned. They have been convicted of offences and are now finding their prospects of rehabilitation, or future employment, impacted by reporting of their past court appearances and conviction. And not only on Discover Hertford but other media outlets also. So do we remove those reports and risk accusations of censorship or airbrushing history, or do we refuse to remove them citing free speech?

There used to be a saying that today's newspapers were tomorrow's chip-paper, but with the web that is no longer true. Reports of past misdemeanors stay online and can be easily found using a search engine, years after the event. There's another saying: "if you can't do the time then don't do the crime", and part of "the time" is having a reputation that can easily be uncovered by Google. And what if the person requesting removal of information has more than one conviction, having been found guilty of a series of offences spanning a number of years. What if those offences are for violence? Don't people have a right to know?

And what if those requests to remove material are less than polite, or even intimidating? Maybe carrying a hint of threat?

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 9:32 am
by Kateg28
With regard to the last sentence, if you agree a policy and it fits within legal guidelines, if you are then threatened that is a police matter and should be reported.

However, as to the policy...

I strongly agree with the principle that if you have served your time and paid the fine etc etc you have discharged your duty and the issue lies with out penal system not being good enough and that is where we should attempt to enforce change.

However there are crimes that potentially fall outside the scope. If paedophiles say it is a disease and they cannot help themselves, then surely a spell in prison will not change that and they are still a danger and public should be warned about it?

There is the issue of isolated instances of crime followed by proper remorse as opposed to habitual criminal behaviour. And who can judge about proper remorse? My past is not as white as I would like but it was 25/30 years ago (never caught so no record) and I am mortified by it despite it being minor crime (not attracting a custodial sentence) and if people knew they could judge me accordingly but it is really not the person I am today.

Don't most employment processes check for criminal records?

Re: Right To Be Forgotten

Posted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 2:48 pm
by Darcy Sarto
Kateg28 wrote:With regard to the last sentence, if you agree a policy and it fits within legal guidelines, if you are then threatened that is a police matter and should be reported.

However, as to the policy...

I strongly agree with the principle that if you have served your time and paid the fine etc etc you have discharged your duty and the issue lies with out penal system not being good enough and that is where we should attempt to enforce change.

However there are crimes that potentially fall outside the scope. If paedophiles say it is a disease and they cannot help themselves, then surely a spell in prison will not change that and they are still a danger and public should be warned about it?

There is the issue of isolated instances of crime followed by proper remorse as opposed to habitual criminal behaviour. And who can judge about proper remorse? My past is not as white as I would like but it was 25/30 years ago (never caught so no record) and I am mortified by it despite it being minor crime (not attracting a custodial sentence) and if people knew they could judge me accordingly but it is really not the person I am today.

Don't most employment processes check for criminal records?


That's what the guidelines in the link I copied above are about. They also include offences which might result in "non-custodial" sanction like fines or community orders:

http://disclose.me.uk/resources/table-o ... ilitation/