I’d just started a new relationship when I sat my girlfriend down and disclosed my conviction to her. Out of interest, we decided to check Google to see if we could find out any information about my conviction on there – it was spent so I’d presumed there wouldn’t be anything. Well, imagine my shock and horror when it came up right in front of me.
I’d been looking to start a new business and I was now really really worried that people who I’d be working for would be able to Google me and see everything about my past. How would these people see me now? Would they still want to work with me? How could this be fair? If an employer did a basic criminal record check on me nothing would show up but because of Google, my spent conviction was still splashed all over the web even though I hadn’t legally had to disclose it for about six months.
How would I be able to move on with my life knowing that anybody could see my conviction on the web and then make a judgement about me, even though I was rehabilitated and had moved on with my life?
Luckily I found Unlock. They were really sympathetic and understood the impact of the so-called ‘Google Effect’. They informed me that as my conviction was spent, I should write to Google and request that they remove the link. They even helped me to draft the letter to Google ensuring that it contained the relevant information to back up my request. I set out in my letter that my conviction was spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and that the information held about me was irrelevant, outdated and inappropriate.
I sent a similar letter to the website that the article appeared on.
Imagine my joy when I received replies back from Google and the website stating that they were happy to remove my links from the web. Now when I do a search on my name, nothing comes up. I feel that I can move forward with my life not having to worry.
I would recommend this that anyone who has a spent conviction and is in the same position as I was. Write to Google and request your link is removed. After all, we should all have the right to move on from our past mistakes.
By Julian (name changed to protect identity)
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- Information – We have practical self-help information on the google-effect for people with convictions on our information hub.
- Discuss this issue – There are some interesting discussions related to this from people with convictions on our online forum
- Policy work – Read about the policy work Unlock is doing on the google-effect