Seattle attorney Shakespear Feyissa was accused of attempted sexual assault while attending Seattle Pacific University in 1998. He was never charged with a crime and naturally, not convicted. But since the allegations were covered in the school paper’s online edition they are cached in Google and easily uncovered for anyone who searches his name.
SPU agreed to remove the story from the school paper but when administrators approached the student editors they said no way. Chris Durr, editor of The Falcon Newspaper said:
We explained to them, if they wanted to start down a path of removing historical archives and pulling it from the public sphere, what they’re doing is censorship. We basically said, sorry, we have principles in journalism that don’t allow us to put stuff in the memory hole and pretend it never happened.
(“Seattle attorney finds that the Internet won’t let go of his past”, Seattle Times, Aug. 15).