The team at Internet Erasure Ltd understand the huge impact that damaging online content can have on vulnerable people and their families.
To support these most deserving people who otherwise would not be able to afford the necessary legal support, and achieve removals under the Right to be Forgotten, we dedicate up to 20% of our billable hours and financial resources into our pro-bono work.
Translated literally "Pro-Bono Publico" means "For the public good". In a legal context "Pro-bono" generally means "free of Charge".
Internet Erasure Ltd are proud to make a difference to the lives of so many people.
Thank you also to our fee-paying clients without whom this wouldn't be possible.
We do not accept any liability for this advice and guidance which is delivered on a pro-bono basis and is to be considered informal only. Should you proceed to follow any of the informal advice provided then you agree to indemnify Internet Erasure Ltd against all claims, losses and liabilities, however incurred. This indemnity shall cover all advice and engagements given by any representative of Internet Erasure Ltd at any time. You further agree not to hold Internet Erasure Ltd in any way responsible for the outcome of these matters and shall not leave any comments or reviews on any platform unless the wording is pre-approved in writing by a representative of our firm as accurate and fair and is reasonably expressing recognition and appreciation of the pro-bono help you have received.
Recent Pro-Bono Right to be Forgotten Success Stories:
1) The Vulnerable Family Fleeing Vigilantes.
Our team of skilled advocates were delighted to have been able to help an innocent mother and her children to regain their safety and privacy through The Right to Erasure.
The children's father was convicted of possessing indecent images and was sent to prison. This was reported in the local and national media with far too much identifying information. The family faced vigilante-style-harassment and lived in constant fear of reprisals.
We remain shocked and disturbed by what our media and society put them through.
The mother kindly shared her story and experiences on this dedicated blog which makes compelling reading:
Please click to visit this courageous mothers blog Children of 'the knock' - you have the right to be forgotten
"Don’t suffer in silence. There is something that can be done, and Internet Erasure are exactly the company who can help."
2) The Teenager Being Bullied at School.
A private school took a photo of a 16 year old pupil playing sports without their consent.
The photo was published in their newsletter and uploaded to the schools public website. The scene and his pose were embarrassing and he became the subject of ridicule by his peers. He also received unwelcome attention online as a result of the photograph published online.
He made 3 requests to the school to remove the photo and each was ignored. In desperation and with worsening mental health he reached out to Internet Erasure for help.
We have a policy of generally not charging anyone aged 21 and under for Right to be Forgotten work on their behalf.
We drafted a comprehensive Right to Erasure request and cautioned the school against their conduct in this case and also against any adverse treatment of the student for exercising his legal rights.
The school permanently deleted the photograph, amended their consent policies and edited the newsletter which was published on their website.
We then applied to Google to deindex the search result (this means removing all traces of it from their Search Engines Results Pages). Google's cache (shadow of the old article) was gone within 48 hours, giving this young lad back his privacy and peace of mind.
Schools - please do not publish photos without consent and also remove them swiftly if they have a disproportionate impact.
"I had no where to turn and couldn't even face going back to school. Internet Erasure helped me with my Right To Erasure and did it all for free. Thanks guys we need more people like you!"
3) The Former Drug Addict Blamed for the Sad Death of Her Friend.
We accepted instruction from a lady who has been ostracised and excluded from society because 20 years ago her friend died from a drug overdose when they were both problematic drug users.
This young woman was not responsible for this tragedy, but was named and shamed in multiple newspaper articles. Although being clean of drugs and free of addiction for almost two decades, there was no escaping the publicity, the shame and 'the google effect'.
Over those twenty years, on multiple occasions, this person has been excluded from, or frustrated in many attempts to:
a) Rent property
b) Gain employment
c) Volunteer for Charity
d) Develop interpersonal relationships
e) Undertake legitimate business activities
e) Borrow money or use other financial services
Without the Right to be Forgotten and deleting articles, this inspiring woman was always overshadowed by labels like "drug addict" or "murderer".
We are all so much more than our past - and the right to be forgotten allows us the chance to prove it.
"With no budget, no expectation and only a little hope I read about GDPR Article 17 Right to be Forgotten and I reached out to Joy. I am so thankful for all they have done and am simply lost for words,"
4) The Person in Prison Placed at Risk of Violent Reprisals.
We were contacted by a lady whose son was serving a prison sentence.
A local newspaper had published a paragraph within the story effectively labelling him as a "grass" or "snitch" and that he planned to tell the police about other criminals.
This was a shocking failure of responsible journalism and resulted in him being attacked and facing multiple threats on his life.
The newspaper had ignored attempted communications by the Mum. Matters worsened and her son was placed in segregation for his own safety. UK prisons are in a very dilapidated state after years of underinvestment and lack of public support for rehabilitation, regimes are brutal and hopeless, especially in segregation. Whilst there, his mental health deteriorated and he started to self-harm.
Even though we were outside of the 12 month limit for edits and corrections, we drafted a firm email to the legal and editorial departments setting out the risk to life that this article had created and reminded them of their duty of care. The newspaper then accepted our arguments and permanently edited out the paragraph.
When the son was told the good news over the phone, his mother said "He was happy for the first time in a long time".
We hope he can serve his prison sentence without further fear or incident and begin a new crime free life upon release.
Apart from a small number of people serving whole of life sentences, all of the people in prison will one day be released to rejoin our communities. We want them to live crime free and fulfilling lives, contributing to society and should give them every opportunity to do so.
"I'm very grateful to the professionalism shown with this company, because of them an article in a newspaper has been edited and a sentence and removed from the content ,which was worded in a very negative accusatory way, leaving a person's life and future risk of reprisals. I recommend that you get in touch with this company for their swift professionalism."
5) The teenager who, as a young child, published innocent videos of herself and her friends.
We were contacted by a teenager (with consent from parents) who had published numerous videos on Vine (a short video sharing platform) when she was young. Many of her friends were featured and all the videos were showing in Google search results. Neither her nor her friends wanted childhood videos of them to be publicly available any longer and these videos (although they were innocent and simply children singing and dancing) being public were causing her anxiety and distress.
We drafted an email to Vine (now owned by Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org) as follows:
To whom it may concern,
I act on behalf of xxxx, please see the Letter of Authority attached to this email confirming this.
My VINE page link is xxxx
Please send all of my data to me as an archive, prior to deletion.
This is my right under Article 15 GDPR and is known as SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST.
Please then permanently delete all date, images and videos etc.
This is my right under Article 17 GDPR and is known as RIGHT TO ERASURE.
Once deleted all content must deliver a “page not found error” to ensure the links qualify for deindexation by search engines.
This page is the most concern xxxx and I must have confirmation of its permanent deletion forthwith.
Advocate for xxxxxxxx
With some chasing and following up, the full Vine account was deleted within 5 working days.
You have the Right to Erasure, even if you created or consented to the content originally, your GDPR rights still apply.
"Very few people would understand the impact that my childhood videos appearing in Google was having on my life. I was being mocked and worse my friends who were in those videos also started blaming me and hating me because of it. Anxiety was dominating my life, I started to self harm and had suicidal thoughts. I reached out and found Internet Erasure and was able to get the videos deleted and all images removed. Now I feel like I have got my life back."
5) The newly qualified teacher who had historic nude photographs posted online and printed in school.
We were contacted by a teacher in distress because teenagers had accessed and printed nude historic photographs of her.
Whilst vulnerable and in a very dark chapter of her life "Sarah" had performed a small number of nude shoots many years earlier under an assumed name.
Years later later she had retrained, qualified and started her dream job, a role in which she was thriving.
After a few months in post she was shocked to learn that a teenage boy had accessed this material online and printed the photos.
There was no adult content available online under her real name, but a small number of images under a stage name had been stolen and shared without her consent years earlier and long before she accepted her current employment role.
We explained that it may be the case that there would be one or two images or webpages that may have inadvertently caused the linking of her real name with her stage name, and which may have led interested parties to find the historic content. In order to find these, we made searches under combined search terms to see whether there was any link, which could serve as a bridge between her real name and her stage name.
Searches under "real first name real last name", "stage first name stage last name" together, led to a historic Instagram account (which had already been removed and so was a deadlink) a Flickr link (a portfolio of innocent and tasteful images) and a StarNow link (also innocent images for acting and modelling purposes).
We arranged for the permanent deletion and deindexing (removal from search results) of all these pages.
This meant that there was no longer any bridge online to be found linking the real name to the stage name.
We then ran various searches and it had become apparent that there was very little content remaining online and that most of the remaining removal work involved removing dead links from google, with the majority of the deletion work already having been performed.
We supported Sarah through a complex investigation, suspension and possible disciplinary action. We provided a detailed witness statement with evidence of all screenshots, technical processes and legal arguments.
It was clear that the inappropriate or adult content was historic, it was never consented to, or distributed by Sarah. It is also evidenced that Sarah has and continues to take all appropriate action to minimise the circulation of content and to mitigate any risk to herself from the illegal sharing of images.
Removing the images and online links has helped to preserve a career which had become an important foundation of Sarah's recent more fulfilling life.
There are many legal grounds and technical processes which can be followed in order to discover and remove damaging online content. It is also beneficial to reach out for professional help at the earliest opportunity.
"You have helped me through a difficult timeI have experienced a horrendous time over the past couple of days. No one expects to find themselves in a situation where leaked images threaten their career, though that is where I find myself now.
I thought there was nothing left to do and decided to search google for any possible help after failing to have the links removed myself.
I found Internet Erasure and decided to look into them. Everything looked great, so I gave them a call. I was extremely anxious about discussing my sensitive situation with a stranger. The privacy lawyer instantly put me at ease and reassured me, taking the time to go through every detail. I have successfully had my data removed, and the trail between sites and my real name is in the process of being eliminated.
The privacy lawyer was extremely knowledgeable, kind and understanding. I urge anyone reading this now, feeling as if everything is over due to an image, article or anything against your name, to contact this amazing team.
Thank you again for your outstanding support and professionalism."