Of course companies like Google will use all of their available resources to lobby against any related legislation such as the ‘right to be forgotten’ ePrivacy proposals. No doubt they will argue that they are using information to improve the user’s experience, but we shouldn’t forget that Google and others are funded in large part by advertising and at the heart of advertising is the manipulation and exploitation of data to identify appropriate target audiences.
That is the view of Ehud Furman, CEO and founder of Veribo, the online reputation management company that specialises in repairing the damage done to the reputations of individuals and companies on the Web.
“It’s time that Governments, regulators, companies and individuals took all online data issues much more seriously,” said Furman. “In pre-Internet days we had much more control over the information held on us. Today, we are providing Google and others with an intimate examination of our private and business lives. We gain significant benefit from the services provided but what happens when it all goes wrong?”
“What recourse do you have if one teenage drunken moment (most of us have had them) defines your online profile and destroys your chances of a job offer? What happens if two years ago an employee in your company abused a position of responsibility, and two years later, after you’ve sacked the person responsible and made all reasonable efforts to make sure it doesn’t happen again, every search result on your company name still presents a related news story on the first page?
Getting something removed from likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube or Google today is invariably complex and can be costly and time consuming. Whereas no free thinking person would suggest significant restrictions to open information access, we do need to place some of the power back in the hands of the individuals and companies impacted.
Veribo is brought in to help both individuals and businesses remove unwanted information about them from the Internet. It is well placed to comment on the implications such rights could have on both sides – businesses or individuals and the technology companies they sign up to.
By Ehud Furman
CEO and founder