Kicking an own goal by attempting to restrain internet publication
Recently a New Zealand judge prevented publication on the Internet of the names of two men accused of murder, but allowed “publication” by newspapers, television and radio broadcast. The Judge was apparently concerned about “someone Googling someone’s name and being able to access it later” and the “viral effect of digital publication”. Despite the Judge’s intentions, Google and the Internet being what they are, there are now many references to the men’s names cached in Google… and significant international discussion prompting people to search Google for that information.
While the circumstances of the case are tragic, it’s a reminder of how publication on the Internet can be “viral” and once attention is drawn to information, it really gets out there quickly. Careful and early strategy in dealing with information published on the Internet and in Google’s cache is essential. This applies particularly to negative comments on websites – in most cases the last thing you want is a high profile court ruling bringing the world’s attention to a site which otherwise would have been overlooked. Sometimes discretion is the preferred option.
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