Getting rid of the report does not remove the crime

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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How tempting would it be to go through your past and erase the things you aren’t particularly proud of – if you could?

That time when you got a disastrous bubble perm? Gone. The ticket you got for speeding? What speeding? The time wasted in a bad relationship? Never happened.

With the advent of social media, it’s easy to present the world an edited version of yourself.

It’s not lying, per se, just a one-dimensional version of the truth.

You’ll never get to know who people truly are through the internet, whether on Twitter, Facebook or dating websites.

The only way you ever get to properly know who someone is is to spend time with them, to hear their secrets and then to judge whether they will be worthy of your time.

But that’s just social media.

The internet is a large and scary place not solely inhabited by pictures of cute animals.

You can use it to find out a lot about people.

I’ve always been pretty good at finding things out about people from the internet. I once wrote a column about how easily I found out someone’s address, pictures of their kids, what groups they belonged to, where they worked, and even where their family lived.

It can be scary stuff, but much of what they had put out there was under their own control.

Yet what if they had committed a crime?

Googling people is now a common thing to do, especially if you’re thinking about a new relationship.

But now under the European Court of Human Rights ruling, you have the ‘right to be forgotten’. That means you can ask Google to remove the link to the court report, or the blog, or whatever else you aren’t proud of.

Maybe if you did something petty when you were 18 and you’re now an adult but it’s still preventing you from getting work, then there’s an argument for it.

But what about more sinister things? Court cases are reported for a reason – so we can all see justice has been done. Removing the report does not remove the crime.