In a small community, everyone knows you, and it is
hard to get away with certain crimes.
Commit one bad crime and it becomes hard to live there any more.
Everyone will shun you.
Potential employers and potential girlfriends will know about you.
You may have to leave town and start again.
This "public shaming" is a powerful deterrent to many crimes.
In the move to big anonymous cities, that deterrent was lost.
But the Internet may be bringing it back.
And that may be a good thing, not a bad thing.
Criminals, before you act, consider this:
What if you are caught, and every future girlfriend is only one Google search away from seeing what you did?
mugged a tiny disabled pensioner in 2015.
For years to come,
whenever any potential girlfriend Googles
she will get this.
A fate worse than prison?
Is this wrong?
That you can never get your life back after doing such a thing?
That his name is poisoned forever?
No. You can get your life back.
There is one way and one way only he can restore his name:
Devote years of his life to the care of the elderly and disabled.
Eventually, if he is sincere,
the media will cover that story
and cover his redemption,
and it will neutralise the poison in his Google hits.
Stories like this are everywhere in the Internet age.
Michael Edmonds of Texas
was in a gang that, for fun,
shot the dog of US military war hero
(the "Lone Survivor")
and then threatened to kill Luttrell himself.
In Seaham, Durham,
in June 2014,
four young men
stole a family's beloved pet rabbit Percy.
They tortured it and killed it.
The family's three children, age 14, 10 and 4, are devastated.
The 14 year old said:
"I just can't believe anyone could be so cruel".
The young men are
and Frank Hudson
and two 17 year olds.
The Guardian publishes
who served 20 years in prison,
and is now free to pontificate to the rest of us.
For 9 years, from 2000 to 2009,
until forced to do otherwise,
the Guardian did not have the guts to tell us
(a) his real name,
or (b) what he did.
One presumed he was a killer, but they wouldn't tell us.
Nor would they tell us his name.
He is outed in 2009. Hurray for the Internet:
on his blog declines to mention his crime or his victim. All it says is this:
"I drifted into crime, and spent 35 years in prison."
finds him very creepy:
"it is quite striking to observe that my taped interview with
[the victim's daughter] reveals many pauses for tears, whereas Hirst's is filled with his own laughter."
John Hirst appears on TV,
showing no remorse or sensitivity.
He expresses no remorse about the woman he killed.
He even grins about it.
Search for more.
They have taken legal cases to stop people talking about this.
Bizarrely, they consider that they have "served their time"
and we should not be allowed to talk about this any more.
Even more bizarrely, they think suing Internet sites
is a good way to remove their names from the Internet
(as opposed to propagating their names).
As at Feb 2011:
In a Google search for
the entire first page is all about the murder
(except for a single link about another Wolfgang Werlé).
In a Google search for
the entire first page is all about the murder.
Manfred Lauber (left) and
Wolfgang Werle (right) murdered a 64 year old man in 1990.
They say we should not be allowed to talk about this any more.
Photo from Wired.
Millatu Ibrahim banned in Germany, June 2012, after massive police raids on homes, meeting halls and mosques.
"Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich ... said
authorities believed there were preparations under way to replace the German constitutional state with Sharia law, and warned that anyone who does so can expect to face prosecution."
It is illegal to campaign for sharia law in Germany.
Trying to shut up a rape victim led to another story of the Streisand Effect in July 2012.
June 2012: Sex assault victim
is told in Kentucky that she cannot publish the names of her rapists.
She publishes them on Twitter.
She named them as
Will Frey and Austin Zehnder.
The above tweets are from
26 June 2012.
A complaint was made against her for contempt,
and she was told she possibly faced jail for naming her rapists.
Good for her.
She has real guts.
The Internet gives power to the victims of crime.
She is a real Internet hero.
The attempt to shut down the victim meant
this story went global, and the rapists were named all over the world.
This is the Streisand Effect yet again.
Had the rapists' lawyers not complained about the victim,
this story would never have gone global.
But they did.
And the headline:
"Rape victim facing jail for naming rapists"
is irresistable to most of the world.
Campaigns were started.
People worked hard to spread the names across the world.
What idiot lawyer decided to pursue this?
Eugene Volokh, 22 July 2012, says the gag order was clearly unconstitutional,
and thinks Savannah is not in trouble. No case against her will stand, he thinks.
"An order barring a victim from revealing the names of her assailants is,
I think, clearly unconstitutional, even when the assailants are juveniles".
The EU tries to impose its more restrictive, Continental version of democracy and speech
on countries with a much freer tradition of freedom of speech.
Mario Costeja González
is not a criminal.
Just someone who wanted to be forgotten.
engaged in an epic legal battle to hide the above information.
He was unhappy that when you Googled his name
you got a
detailing his debts and the forced sale of his property.
He could not sue the newspaper
for printing facts,
so he chanced his arm and sued Google, and in a ludicrous ruling, won in 2014 at the European Court of Justice.
Due to the Streisand effect, the above information will be
linked to his name
until the day he dies.
Who I block:
I will debate almost anyone.
I love ideas.
I will not debate (and will block) people who do the following:
(a) Make threats.
(b) Accuse me of crimes.
(c) Comment on my appearance.
(d) Drag in stuff about me not related to the topic. (My professional career, my personal life.)
(e) Complain to my employer.
Yes, people do all these things.