Wiped off the web - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Wiped off the web

Chris Duque Chris Duque
James Kerr James Kerr
Roman Amaguin Roman Amaguin

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Google, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace are just some of the internet sites people can visit to find information about you.

"I don't even use business cards. Now I tell people, you want to know my calling card? Google!" said Former HPD Cyber crimes Detective Chris Duque.

Beware. Those videos and posts put up for fun aren't just going to friends.

According to a 2007 survey, 83 percent of recruiters use search engines to learn about candidates.

43 percent of them have eliminated potential employees based on what they found online.

Anyone anytime can post anything about you and that makes protecting your identity and reputation online extremely difficult.

"It becomes a problem because people can be very malicious," said Attorney Roman Amaguin.

"Pictures of their face superimposed on a naked body, for example. I had a client who is an actress who had that problem."

It takes just seconds to upload a picture; wiping it off the web can take months if you're lucky.

"There are a few options. The first is to contact that place. Wherever that image document or text is residing, you have to contact that company and ask them to remove that," said James Kerr with Supergeeks.

I sat down with former Honolulu Police Department Cyber crimes Detective Chris Duque to find out just how hard that is.

"Please follow this link, you got to put your email address here and then you put your name and the complaint you have.  It takes a lot of time and patience," Duque explained.

"We just can not take them away because it's not criminal. If the page or the information falls within a criminal violation like a harassment, threat or pornography then we can get it offline. If it's not, it's pretty much impossible," said Duque.

Computer experts say another option is to "bury it".

"Bury the information beyond the first 10 or 15 Google results. See what other data you can create about yourself so that data isn't so easily found," said Kerr.

If you have the money, there are companies that specialize in protecting your reputation online. The results can be mixed but even the best experts won't get everything.

"It is impossible to remove all our personal information," Duque said. "If we take it off network A it may be on network B or network C."

"Anything that's digital will in theory live on forever, "said Kerr. "Probably the best advice one could give is, don't do anything you wouldn't want to see online somewhere."

Experts also say it's a good idea to monitor your identity online. You can start by signing up with Google alerts. Every time your name is published on the web, Google alerts you in your email inbox.

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