26 November 2014

What does the internet mean to you? It might seem like a bit of an odd question, but I’ve been thinking recently about the kinds of experiences it opens up to each of us.

WebPersonally, I think the internet is an incredible tool to have at our fingertips and, for the past fifteen years, it has been my livelihood and my passion; but I am also aware that it can be a double-edged sword. This was abundantly evident in a recent news piece about a businessman who had been made the target of a malicious campaign online, with false accusations and abusive comments stacking up over a period of years.

Unfortunately, I’m sad to say I know people who have had similar things happen. It has affected their reputations unfairly and had an impact on their personal lives, but – before the Right to be Forgotten ruling – there was little they could do to stop it. It’s one of the reasons I support the move, which I think puts more power back into the hands of the public, and rightly so.

Yesterday, after taking them to court, the businessman – Daniel Hegglin – settled with Google, who went above and beyond to help him erase as many of the abusive comments as possible from its search results and hosted websites. It’s a positive result, as there is nothing more infuriating than inaccurate information being put out there about people with little opportunity to defend themselves.

The internet shouldn’t be a place where people can hide behind their keyboards and, in my opinion, bogus content published anonymously should be pulled instantly. People need to be held accountable and it seems right that there should be a protection layer there. It’s great to see Google stepping up and helping a person in an immense amount of pain, and it bodes well for the kind of internet experiences we’ll have in the future.

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