I have just conducted a search on a popular search engine for “Seán Quinn”, and the above message – that Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe – appears at the bottom of each page of results. Over the past weekend, there was widespread media coverage of attempts by Seán Quinn to rely on the EU’s right to be forgotten to remove newspaper articles from search listings that highlighted significant aspects of his bankruptcy and of his family’s lavish pre-bankruptcy lifestyle. This attempt at reputation management backfired spectacularly on him, and stands as an example of the Streisand effect, which is:
… a phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information has the unintended consequence of increasing awareness of that information, often via the Internet. It is named after American singer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress the California Coastal Records Project photograph of her residence in Malibu, California, taken to document California coastal erosion, inadvertently drew greater attention to it in 2003.
On Saturday, in the Irish Independent, Shane Phelan published the following story:
Google delists dozens of articles on court battles and even €100,000 wedding cake
Members of ex-billionaire Seán Quinn’s family have mounted a successful campaign to have press coverage about their past ‘forgotten’ by Google.