How to remove a criminal record from Google would often depend on the nature of the criminal record and the time that has lapsed since the conviction.
It is possible to remove a criminal record from Google where the criminal conviction has become spent. There are different periods of time before a criminal conviction becomes spent which depend on the age of the offender and the sentence they received. The rehabilitation of offenders period is set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Even if your criminal record falls outside the list of rehabilitation periods, you may still be able to apply to remove your criminal record from Google.
The problem for many individuals who want to remove a criminal record from Google is that Google content moderates are human being and as such they often make their own judgment as to whether links to an individual’s criminal record should be delisted from search results. Their judgment is often based on what they consider as the public interest rather than the law.
The law gives individuals an opportunity to move on with their lives and it considers that public interest was sufficiently served after they stood trial and served their sentence. After that, the law says that it is no longer in the interest of the public at large to be aware of the individual’s criminal record and that search engines, including Google should remove references to the criminal record search results. This law applies equally to those individuals who committed dishonesty offences, violent offences or even sex offences.
Too often, Google’s content moderators refuse to remove a criminal conviction reference from search results because they don’t appear to like the nature of the offence. It is often easier to remove a criminal record reference in relation to a serious dishonesty offence, such as fraud, for which the offender received a sentence of three and a half years in prison, than to remove a criminal record reference in relation to a minor sex offence, such as indecent exposure, for which the offender received a conditional discharge.
It is therefore important that when you apply to remove a criminal record from Google or from other search engines you familiarise yourself with your legal rights and that even if your criminal record might be unpleasant, your persistence with your request to remove the criminal record from Google should eventually succeed.
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