In today’s digitalized world, potential employers, suppliers and business partners can take seconds to search for you online and access a plethora of information, data and images about past moments and events that one would prefer to completely erase from their internet history. .
In some cases, it is someone posting false information, photos or videos online to damage the reputation of individuals or businesses, negatively impact careers and job prospects or destroy lucrative trade deals.
Sveva Antonini, an intellectual property lawyer and co-founder of Italian tech company LinKiller, says these are growing concerns customers come to them with, and includes a significant number of people who want to erase some of their history with which they no longer identify. and create a new clean digital identity.
“We have had cases of [clients] who have become politicians or [prominent] entrepreneurs and they no longer wanted to be connected to old photos or videos,” Antonini explained in an interview with PYMNTS.
And LinKiller is helping to make that a reality. Depending on the time, type and platform the content was posted on, she said it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a month to complete the de-indexing process and remove the harmful content, which does not include content related to sexual relations. violence or criminal activities against minors such as paedophilia.
At the base of the technology is a database containing the contact details of different content providers, from bloggers, webmasters to newspapers, which makes it easy to automatically send takedown requests to relevant parties.
Web reputation management at your fingertips
The process is quite simple and straightforward, she says. If a customer knows the exact content they wish to remove, all they have to do is download the app, enter the unwanted link and within 24 hours the feasibility of the intervention, which can be monitored in real time, will be established.
And while the app doesn’t guarantee complete removal of all unwanted content for every request, Antonini said the company’s legal team steps in on the most complex cases to help determine the best approach to take, adding a much-needed human touch to technology. Solution.
Building on the success of its current offering, the Bologna-based tech company has introduced another service called Link Monitor which allows users to monitor their online reputation in real time at any time of the day.
“This software scans 186 million sources – blogs, social networks, newspapers – in 147 languages and lets you know five minutes after entering your first and last name if they have been mentioned anywhere in the world,” Antonini explained.
Today, the EU-based company, which launched in 2017, removes and de-indexes around 10,000 links a year with a success rate close to 90%, and has since exported its technology to France and the United States. Portugal, two European countries that have taken a similar approach. Italy’s approach to online reputation management.
Complex regulations, expansion in the United States
The Right to be Forgotten Act (RTBF) in Europe gives citizens the right to have their private information removed from online searches, while the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), considered one of the strictest data privacy laws in the world, also provides additional rights regarding consumer data privacy.
In this regulatory environment, Antonini said it is now easier to request content removal, as websites, ISPs, blogs and webmasters are required to comply with regulations.
Moving forward, she said expanding into the US market is something they hope to achieve in the near future, even though the differences in right to information laws between Europe and the United States will be a major challenge to meet the demands of users there.
She referred to the case of a 45-year-old US client, who wanted to remove articles about alleged criminal activity dating back to the age of 23, but was ultimately unable to do so due to US laws.
“We tried, but it was completely impossible because in the United States, in the balance between the right to information and the right to be forgotten, the right to information is much stronger than in Europe “, said Antonini.
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