right to be forgotten by cobsgroup and oyetola oyewumi

Right to Be Forgotten Examined in Practice

The Right to be forgotten is a hot topic at the moment and has spurred on a few emails and talking points, so as promised here is my view on this topic.

Remember the Date.
13th May 2014 the day the European Court effectively caused a ripple in the status quo of the internet and the digital world. It was the day the ruling on the Right to be Forgotten Ruling was made.

There have been a lot of academics on both sides of the coin: the privacy advocates ,the freedom of expression advocates and anti censorship communities.

First Case Summary

Lets take a look at the case in summary (this is important as you will see in the end) a man had something he didn't like on the internet he went through the various levels of the courts and got to a court where he got a favourable result, THE END.

This favourable result came as a surprise and a shock (back in August 2013 Eu Courts ruled in Googles Favour ) to a lot of people and to Google it has created a huge headache on implementation. However, Google is working on an automated tool that will enable you to make requests.

The Centrepiece of the issue.
Now the main issues here that will seem to be  the deciding factors are : whether the subject matter of the information requested for removal is in the public interest which then leads into whether the  right to know outweighs the right to be forgotten . This is where things get interesting as it is a case of the person asking themselves is it in the public interest to know about this.

I was at an event 'this one time' held at Manchester  Met University, and I think it was called State of the Internet or something similar, as usual there is a Q&A session at the end and one of the Questions asked was on the subject of privacy and big data collection and how it affects peoples lives . Someone then said something (I think it was a general comment from the crowd) which was along the lines of what could someone have to hide that is soooo bad (Please note I am paraphrasing a bit).  (I wish I had recorded that event as it could have made for a really interesting backdrop)

So What could People Possibly Have to Hide that is Soooo bad and then Do I want to Know?

If we are to look at the ruling there is no guidance to it, so the above question will only be answered by the cases as each one builds on a case by case basis.

Now from my personal opinion I think the good thing with this ruling applies is in a case such as this first one:

Case 1
Subject :A student has been tagged in  'embarrassing uni pics' and is now ready to start their professional career.

Do I have a right to know they had a fun time at uni?
Well perhaps if I was back in A levels and was thinking of where to go (though I am more of a library man myself) but is it in the public interest ?

Public Interest Test
In my opinion I doubt it, so  yes lets grant their request and have this picture not coming up.

PRO TIP :For any students reading this what you should do especially if this is facebook is to change your settings so you have to approve any pictures you are tagged in first . Another option is to first untag yourself  from those embarrassing pics, set up your smartphone to take a burst of pics while in the library(be creative add books, selfies of books) upload them to your facebook album entitled day 1 of library  tag yourself and your friends in the pics everyone will like and share organically in no time the pics that show up first for you when googled should go from your moon walking in a onesie antics to  #librarylife.

Also it is possible to disallow Facebook from sharing your information with Search Engines in your privacy settings.

cobs group facebook settings


Case 2
Subject:  A negative review of a legal or medical professional and a restaurant .

Public Interest Test:
Solicitors from Hell springs to mind here, would it be in the interest of the public to know what one customer thinks of their solicitor or surgeon if something went horribly wrong, hmmm this is tricky as it's not exactly black and white. Do either of these have genuine good reviews to counteract , are there more negative reviews of the same showing a pattern  would general members of the public want to know in these cases probably yes they would in order to ensure potential new clients knew before hand about other peoples experiences.

What about in the case of the restaurant well I would say yes this is in the public interest to know if your staff are rude but is it just one person who said they are rude out of 500 or 300 out of 400 ? Again yes I would say it is in the public interest to know and make an informed decision but the severity /swaying power between where to eat and which doctor or solicitor to use varies here and it is interesting to see how will this be handled. As an automated algorithm wouldn't be  able to make this distinction as I think it would mean a need for a human element so at least this ruling could help create jobs then.

Case 3

Subject: Keeping With the Celebrities

Do I have a right to Know?: The general response here is probably :they are celebs, they are in the public eye, so people will want to know. From the celebs point of view:  ''mind your own business and respect my right to privacy.''

Public Interest Test:
Its safe to say when it comes to celebrities most people ''Always want to Know'', but are some things more private than others ? What does this mean for the Kiss and Tellers? What about bias what if the person making the decision is biased against a certain celeb or perhaps they play for a rival team?

Ofcoure there is the journalism exemption where certain headlines might get the exemption but WAIT!!! If it becomes a journalistic exemption scenario does that mean the journalist can then run a story of how the celebrity tried to exercise the right to be forgotten and then what if other outlets then carry that story ?  Does that mean the celebrity then has to go after each one individually ?

As I write this I must say Case 3 has certainly posed more questions than answers, sadly I haven't yet made it to celeb status to be able to answer these questions myself.

The Streisland Effect

What is it : The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. Read more about the Streisland Effect here

One thing I do know is the Streisland Effect is likely to raise its head in a lot of celebrity cases and even in normal everyday people if it makes a good story, don't forget Social Media and its ability to galvanize a movement particularly if its something where people believe strongly on a case or issue or strongly disapprove of an individuals behavior or actions.

Cyberbullying and the Ruling

If you ask me, where I think there should be a ruling of a right to something on the internet is against cyber bullies. The right to remove them instantly from your social networking sites is probably a right that will be welcomed by all with open arms and a 'Hero's' parade.

The above are probably some of the more somewhat pleasant cases and don't even  begin the scratching of the surface, there are a lot more tougher cases where criminal activity, Political inquest, child abuse and more .

Did the Streisland Effect Happen in this Case
 Second Case Summary

Remember earlier when I was talking about the case in very brief summary? Well lets look at the detail the case involved Mr Costeja González and what he wanted to remove, now he has successfully exercised his right to be forgotten. But when we now search for him and see that he has exercised his right to have the information removed , we know what he wanted remove and that he has exercised it . Isn't this counter intuitive as now the results that come up are that he had something he wanted to remove and we know what it was but now we also so know he had it removed so essentially isn't he still in the same position even though its now from a different angle?

online reputation management for a fottball player celebrity by cobs group chief online business and solutions group

How to Manage Defend & Repair the Online Reputation of a Football Player

One of the biggest headaches of a football agent  is managing the clients reputation so the player's head is always in the game on the pitch.

This goes triple for the manager who only wants the best for his player, team and club as a whole, but WAIT!!! What if you could delete, fix, remove & repair the ''negative stuff ''?

All too often we see ''off pitch'' matters affecting the performance of a lot of athletes, thus having a knock on effect of imposing added pressure on them and leading to an average game performance, or in some cases a string of  bad games , which can then put them on the fast track to the bench or even worse the transfer list. Managers must manage and mitigate liabilities and for some managers getting rid of a ''bad egg'' might be the only remaining play if all else fails.

Not to mention that in cases where children are involved, being bullied or made fun of in school can be common place where their dad has seemingly fallen from grace.

The Source and The Sauce:

What tends to occur  is that something 'negative' happens in the athletes private life which may be discovered or leaked to the press and thus broadcast to the world.  Living your life in a fishbowl more often than not comes with the territory of stardom. The truth here is that 'DRAMA' sells and when you get DRAMA, CONTROVERSY and a CELEBRITY all in one for most media outlets this is the recipe for a golden headline especially in a culture that craves this sort of information.

One Side to Every 'Drama Sweet' Story

However, for various reasons it is usually a 'one sided' story that is run and in most cases more people will discover things online  faster than they see it in the paper of course this is because online is cheaper, quicker and more convenient be it on the move via mobile phone or on an Ipad/ other tablet/laptop.

This scenario more often than not leads to a damaged reputation and even taunting/cyber bullying of the athlete in question. In a matter of seconds one tweet of one bad story can  lead to a backlash of drastic proportions thus destroying a career and lifetime of credibility.

Rather than them being allowed to get on with their lives they have to relive the story for as long as it is kept alive or until hopefully something bigger and more ''Drama Sweet'' comes along but in the meantime they are giving time off even though they would much rather take solace for 90mins of their week in the cheers of faithful fans and a ball at their feet , sadly the risk of their head not being in the game is sometimes to great.

The Solution:

Before we look at the solution lets look at some ''Prevention is Better'' than cure tips involving Social Media and Real Life:

  • Don't Tweet while angry or in the heat of the moment and if you must, have a delay filter on your twitter before it goes out.
  • Always think to yourself  would I be happy with this tweet as a headline with my name.
  • If you are caught in a compromising situation any evidence you can use to prove your innocence should be obtained immediately if possible.
  • Don't get into compromising situations.
  • Distance yourself from any liabilities whenever you are in a public domain.
  • Whenever a problem, embarrassing or stressful situation comes knocking sometimes all it takes is for you to step away from it. It's smarter to step away from it and comeback with an experienced tactician than to tackle  it head on keeping cool here is the key.

[bra_boxed_text Title="" Description="Nothing ground breaking above right?"]

Now the solution comes with online reputation management, an online reputation strategist can help put together a communication blueprint to remove the negative and replace it with positives or in some cases what really happened thus giving the same athlete the limelight to voice his side of the story.

With a reputation manager as an ally repairing credibility and defending against cyber bullies suddenly becomes an option but, this does NOT mean that an athlete should feel he now has immunity to do whatever he wants as there is a limit to which an ethical reputation manager will go.

The possibility of virtually instantaneous results to correct, contest and defend against false allegation accusations whistle blowers story sellers and the like to set the record straight has the positive effect of keeping the athletes head in the game knowing there is  someone ''taking care of it'' properly and of course it keeps the club owners, managers, friends, ''die hard'' fans and most importantly their family and kids happy both at home and in school.

by Oyetola Oyewumi Ceo and owner of Chief Online Business Solutions Group (COBS Group)


Find Oyetola Oyewumi on Google+

If I was Police and Crime Commissioner Here's What I Would do With Social Media.

The Police Commissioner Elections

Today is an interesting day in the United Kingdom as the elections for the new post of Police and Crime Commissioner are in full swing.

So what exactly is the this role about?

Well according to some research aka ''Googling''  we have identified that the Police and Crime Commissioner  has a "mission to fight crime and Anti Social Behaviour "

I also found a list of other duties that were of interest and these two stood out:

  1. Representing and engaging with all those who live and work in the communities in their force area and identifying their policing needs.
  2. Setting priorities that meet those needs by agreeing a local strategic plan for the force.

Crime Fighting with Social Media

A point which I believe needs to be understood by the person who fills this role is how to use Social Media  as an effective means to battle crime.

The Not so Distant Past

Back in my Undergraduate days (The year was 2005) there was an incident that occurred outside the lecture theater in which one of the bikes padlocked outside the entrance to the building was in the process of being lifted by two hooded thugs. One brandishing a knife to anyone who dared make eye contact , the other trying to force through the bikes locks and all in broad daylight.

At the time no one dared even try and step in as the first  auto response for most of us humans is self preservation, so most walked  briskly passed in shock some of us reported it straight to the guys on reception but by the time they came to the rescue the deed was already done.

The Present Digital Age

Fast forward to 2012 and new school social media is now officially 7 years old and the smart phone is like a compass for our daily routines. Now put me or anyone in that  same situation  again and I know instantly that I would intsantly instagram or take a picture of both culprits from a safe distance or even film them for Youtube and tweet my Oscar worthy video and flicks to @GMpolice (Greater Manchester police for those who aren't ''Twitterfied' yet) who could have every ounce of eveidence possibly fathomable for a slam dunk case and a happy cyclists to get his bike back.


Some of the Costs and ROIs of Fighting Crime with Social Media

Cost to the economy would be my 5seconds of battery life depleted and possibly the police listening to my John Motson styled running commentary  benefit to the economy on the other hand would be hopefully more significant than the costs.

Touching on the Cyber Bullying Issue

Similarly the rising issue of Cyber Bullying in schools and around communities  is another one which I would as the Police and Crime Commissioner  want to tackle head on this is because the times we are living in cyber crime is as just as serious and isn't only limited anymore to Fraud. Trolls are using the internet to intimidate and harm adults and children, however to understand how to use the power of social media to fight this enemy will require someone who has grown up with the 7 year old Social Media or understands it well enough to legislate and adjudicate.

The Allied Social Forces

The positive from this is that finding these people to help the legislative and judiciary are readily available and as the Police and Crime Commissioner I would very quickly take advantage of this.

Surely I would have at least by 10% done my bit in representing and engaging with all those who live and work in the communities as well as set a precedence in place to using an new ally to fighting crime and Anti Social Behaviour.

Finally if you ever do find your self  in such a situation as this one below be a lamb and do please let us know.

police humour

Understanding how to tackle Cyber Bullies and Cyber Bullying

Understanding How to Fight Against CYBER Bullying in School

In this age of three split screens and social media there are a lot of interesting instant mediums in which we communicate, interact and engage  across the world within the seconds not days or hours but instantly.

(If you don't believe me you can Tweet at Obama and ask him how social media helped in his campaign for a second term and it will take you all of  probably 35seconds.)

We live in the age now where we have the Ipad and other tablets, we have our mobile phones which are now smartphones and we now have smart TVs that are becoming increasingly the norm and lets not forget we still have our laptops.

However, there are two sides to every coin and sadly even though we can use social media and these snappy multi-screens to make a positive impact and take advantage of electronic word of mouth permitting our customers and fans be our very own army of brand ambassadors so to are there also brand detractors who don't praise but attack individuals and brands.

These individuals are called Trolls and they live solely to gain the cyber limelight by Cyber Bullying.

So What is  Cyber Bullying?

It is when internet and related technologies are used  in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner to harm other people.

It is particularly common amongst the younger generation now growing up with the internet and social media, and as such legislation and awareness campaigns have been developed to try and combat this growing problem.

The usual battlefields for the usual Trolls include the use of internet services,  mobile phones, web pages, discussion groups, instant messaging and or SMS text messaging.

Is Cyber Bullying New?

Cyber Bullying is not as new as you might think:  Hi5, MySpace, Msn Messnger, Face Party were all  the ancestors that existed before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube etc. These ancestors were also playgrounds for Trolls and cyber bullies the only difference is now that the multi-screens mixed with  Social Media coming to the forefront and taking a prominent place in our lives has amplified ten times over the dangers of the internet.

This is an infographic on  Understanding the Troll Enemy and how to Controll the Troll.

Who Do these Cyber Bullies Target:

They target vulnerable children and adults from school kids on the playground teasing their classmates via a social network to office politics taking a turn for the worse with office bullying to over zealous trolls taking a shot at celebrities be it footballers, reality T.V stars, Politicians  and even a lot of our favorite Hollywood actors plus everyone in between.

One common denominator in all these scenarios is that people are human and in most cases do get affected by these cyber taunts causing a drop in performance  be it on the pitch,on set , at school, at home or at work  it takes a strong mental prowess to be un-phased by a bout of cyber bullying.

The Cyber Generation Gap Problem

The one problem I see that makes it hard to address the problem of cyber bullying is that law makers, leaders those in position of authority are unavoidably to some measure alien to the online phenomenon of social media and in fact a lot of the online world.

Experienced judges who can preside over a horrific crime aren't  as conversant in the workings of twittering, leaders  of nations who are apt in the art of promoting peace ,averting wars and looking after the nations well being may find it tricky to navigate the harsh words that a Facebook Group or Page may be hurling at unsuspecting victims.

There was always something I heard during Monday assembly in school which was that ''The youth of Today'' are the future of tomorrow and there is no doubt that the children of today will produce the next members of the judiciary and legislative arms of government.

In the same way they will produce the next leaders CEOs and thought leaders and the best thing is that it is these individuals who have grown up with this phenomenon of social media and social networking across various platforms who are going to be the most qualified in understanding, utilizing and tackling issues such as cyber bullying.

Tackling the Bullies HEAD ON

So how do you tackle these bullies the truth is that each case must be assessed on its own merits as there is no one size fits all approach humans are humans and humans being humans are unpredictable therefore there is no one solution however there are measures which can be taken to avoid some of the awful dangers of cyber bullying ranging from a life long lack of confidence to sad and extreme cases of suicide.

Moderator Approach

Social Media Platforms all tend to have moderators who will ban accounts and delete inflammatory and obscene content from their sites in  a case of cyber bullying  this can be your first approach  there is usually a report spam or flag this message option. Moderators themselves are very trigger happy when it comes to these sort of scenarios and this is good because it shows they will not tolerate nonsense on their forums or sites however sometimes they may not be able to immediately provide an instant solution e.g the offending account ban might take up to 48hours or there might be other delays but in most cases the justice is swift and precise as they want an amicable environment for all their visitors.

What About in Schools?

Parents Teachers Headmasters Principals Deans etc please realize that this is an issue that cannot be passed on to someone else yes the generation gap may hamper you too but our children are our responsibilities and that duty carries on even in the face of new technology.

If children are being victims of cyber bullying on cyber networks there needs to be a few systems in place

1.Safe Haven:
How can these victims speak out about what is going on is there a ''suggestion box'' in your school if not there should be and there should also be a ''I need to talk box'' where students and even teachers who are being victims of this cyber taunts can relay their concerns and feel safe not patronized or a ''yes man/woman'' but safe the same way they feel when they know they have an older brother or sister who they can always talk to about anything  this is the system you need in place .

2.Understand the Battlefield:
The war against Cyber bullying is is a new type of war with the same old principles and if you don't know the battle ground as well as the opponent then your work is cut out for you. Social Media platforms are where its happening and as such this world is what you need to understand if you are going to help those who come into your safe haven for protection. Therefore hiring a social media expert who can help address this problem and at the same time teach the children how to be responsible while they are online and teach the parents and school staff the basics to understanding these battle grounds is a key ingredient to this fight.

In case you haven't got the idea yet know this cyber bullies tend to be lone keypad warriors whereas those who come to your safe haven instantly have strength in numbers family, school staff, other students etc who will come to the rescue of any victim but if these allies don't know what or how to help then the numbers count for nothing.

3.Diffusing the Situation:
One important thing to always remember is that  perception and angles of approach go along way in the real offline world and so to in the online world. Very importantly and I cannot stress this enough in a school situation of cyber bullying adding fuel to the fire is NOT the right course of action a heated debate ensuing is all it leads too and makes the Cyber Bully feel validated and grants them an unnecessary cyber lime light which is what they are after. No the right course of action is to rally as a defensive offense to the victim.

Cyber Bully says ''bla bla bla''
Teacher online says '' John we are proud of you and actually so proud that tomorrow in assembly we will show how good you are at .... ''

You have now changed the angle and perception so much so that the target is no longer a victim you are defending online but actually you are going to be highlighting their strengths and each and every student has their own individual talent which gives them confidence from hobbies to academics shower them with praise when they are attacked online and instantly you have diffused the situation by putting the lime light on them reminding them of what they are stars at solidifying the one thing that cyber bully tries to knock the confidence.

There are a number of sophisticated ways to identify cyber bullies from IP addresses to them using their real names the question really is how to address the matter once the bully has been identified this ladies and gentleman parents and guardians teachers and principals is your call. I cannot teach you how to run your school or homes but I can tell you this a bully is always insecure about one thing or the other or dealing with issues of their own so an accusatory approach may not be the best but an understanding not condescending or patronizing in my experience works very well.

Now you have read a lot and I do hope this has been helpful as a basis the subject is so vast and broad that I could literally write a book on this but I hope this post so far has been useful enough. I will also address Cyber Bullying from the point of view of a celebrity as well as that of the work place in later posts.