Recently, Google decided to change its algorithms so that when a person uses its search engine to look for someone, their mug shot — as it appears on Web sites dedicated to making such pictures available to the public — isn’t the first (or second or third) thing that comes up. In addition, MasterCard chose to take its payment support off such sites, which can charge up to hundreds of dollars to people who want their pictures removed.
What’s the Big Idea?
While this comes as good news to the many who don’t want their past indiscretions held against them when looking for a job, as well as to those who advocate for “the right to be forgotten,” writer Mathew Ingram wonders what the corporate targeting of mug shot sites — which are technically legal — means for other sites. He mentions WikiLeaks as an example of one “valuable site” from which MasterCard pulled its payments support in 2010. “[Are Google and MasterCard] going to somehow differentiate between the good uses of this kind of information and the bad ones? It seems…that there’s a very real risk that this kind of behavior could quickly become a slippery slope.”