Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

“Please help me expunge my name from the Internet”

I got an email recently asking me to remove a webpage or at least remove or obscure a person’s name on that page.

Unfortunately for that person, the webpage in question was an archive of a 2001 message to a mailing list; the person had sent a message to the list, and I had replied to the list, CC’ing that person.

So, since it was not my archive, there was nothing I could do—and the nature of mailing list archives being what it is, I found at least two other places where that message was archived, so even if I had been able to remove the first archived posting, it still wouldn’t have helped the person “expunge their name from the Internet”. (The third site I found even had our email adresses in plain text.)

Poor person; I wish them luck in their success, but I suspect this is a case of opening a can of worms: you’ll never get the worms back into the can, nor your name off the Internet—especially not if you landed in a mailing list archive.

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