Ever googled yourself and didn’t like what you saw?

Misspent youth coming back to haunt you?

In a recent survey* 65% of employers said they have googled-searched, potential candidates.

With the graduate job market set to become even more competitive after Brexit* it’s important to consider how your online presence can have an impact on all aspects of your life.

Be proactive, don’t wait for something to impact on your future, clean up your online presence now.

What rights do you have?

  • In 2014 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that a “right to be forgotten” exists under the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (the Data Protection Directive).
  • This has now become known as the Google Spain case.
  • In 2018 the DPA will be replaced by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) this will introduce the Right to Erasure. Individuals will have a right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing in specific circumstances.

Check out this video on the law and what it means.

Cleaning Up Your Act

What’s out there?

  • Log out before you Google yourself – CTL+SHIFT+N
  • Don’t just google, you will also need to run separate searches on Yahoo & Bing
  • Check your privacy settings on social media, remember public means public.
  • Make a list of all the links (URL’s) that you would like to be removed, you will need these later for your request.

Requesting the removal of content:

  • Firstly take some time to look through Google’s toolkit.
  • Read the form here.

Though the form looks simple enough Google can and will reject any request if you don’t ask for removal for the right reasons

Use the law to get it right:

  • In the ‘reasons for removal box’ you need to explain why the data should be removed by using the law.
  • You need to cite Data Protection laws rather than defamation, intellectual property, or other laws.
  • Until the law changes in 2018, you need to use Data Protection Act 1998
  • A copy of a guidance draft is available via the following link we need to set up a web link

What if they won’t remove the information?

If Google rejects your application, your next step should be to ask the Information Commission to look into the matter or issue Google with a formal letter under section 10(3) of the Data Protection Act 1998 so that Google ceases the processing of your data. If Google still does not respond to this, the letter may be followed by legal action. The first few cases are currently going through the courts.

Finally, some tips…  

Don’t Leave your Facebook logged in:
You might have the most opaque privacy settings in the world, but it won’t do much good if you leave your account logged on – whether at a public computer, or the laptop in your student room left unattended while you pop out to make a tea. Students are notorious for “hilarious” status frapes – so just log off.

Think about sharing compromising pictures:
Any pictures of activities of questionable legality (or nudity) can come back to haunt you.
However, if you’ve been the victim of revenge porn you can seek advice and support here.

Try not to Blur the boundaries between social and professional:
We’ve all seen messages in the past that were definitely not intended to be Facebook statuses or tweets – the sort that make you wince and hope their authors aren’t online friends with their professors (or parents, for that matter).

Don’t use the same really obvious password for everything:
If one network is hacked you are in big trouble. Not only is this a good tip for your social media reputation, it’s just good practice with bank accounts or other important data.

Drinking and posting:
This is invariably and without exception, a terrible idea – and the clean-up takes a lot longer when you can’t remember what you posted in the first place.

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