Good Luck Trying To Delete Stuff Off The Internet

from the yeah,-that'll-work dept

ethorad writes "In the UK, in an attempt to promote the work the police do, some forces name and shame criminals that they catch and prosecute. All good so far as it helps the community see that crimes are being tackled (assuming they are ...)

However the Ministry of Justice has now said that police forces who do that must remove the details from their website after one month. Yeah, good luck with that. Place your bets now on how many third party websites (especially local community ones) will start scraping the details from police websites for long term storage?"


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:55am

    You have to be something of a fanatic to systematically scrap and preserve someone else's web site. The practical reality for most web sites is that if you delete something it's pretty much deleted, there are exceptions of course but those don't amount to a general inability to delete.

     

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  2.  
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    Tor (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:58am

    Unpublishing

    Kind of reminds me of when one of the biggest tabloids here in Sweden tried to interview the leader of our most famous union about a recently revealed scandal. After they had published the paper it however turned out that the woman on the photo of the article and who seemed very dismissive and unwilling to comment on the whole story (for natural reasons it would turn out) was a completely different person who just happened to live nearby the union leader. This mistake was of course deeply embarrasing for the tabloid and I listened to a radio interview with a representative for the newspaper afterwards. He said that of course they "unpublished" the article as soon as they found out.

    He was probably referring to the internet version of the article - the paper was already out everywhere. Still I found it very interesting to hear a person at a newspaper believe that it's possible to "unpublish" something. To me it seems just as impossible as "untelling" a secret or "unbreaking" a wase.

     

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  3.  
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    Mark Harris, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:59am

    You may be interested in a site I know of. It's called Google. I don't know if there are many more like it but it's quite fascinating what deleted items can be found there...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:04am

    With a National Security Letter, everything is available outside of the usual judicial process.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this whole Tiger Woods fiasco, and voice mails were released under political duress of a chatty intel officer who, in turn, obtained it a result of the PATRIOT act.


    Thanks, Bush Administration.

     

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  5.  
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    zcat (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:37am

    Re:

    http://www.archive.org/index.php

    150 billion pages archived. That's pretty fanatical...

    There are various other projects that do the same thing too, eg Archives NZ recently decided to download as much of the .nz webspace as they could find, plus a whole lot of NZ-related sites in other domains. They're not fanatics, it's actually part of their job description...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:45am

    Re:

    Perhaps you haven't read Judge Victor Marero's 103 page decision on NSLs (or 120 pages as the news organizations reported...)

    Here's a copy.
    http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safefree/nsldecision.pdf

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:51am

    Re: Re:

    If you search that site for www.techdirt.com you find nothing archived for 2009 and only 3 pages for 2008 - pretty useless for e.g. techdirt trying to recover from being hacked earlier in the year.

    150 billion pages just doesn't cut it.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 2:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think you have a point you're trying to make, but I can't quite see it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_852573C40069388000257442004ECECE.html?pagewanted=print

     

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  9.  
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    oh, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:04am

    wrong

    there is a site dedicated to caching for ever everything on the net minus the robots.txt
    its been around for what 10 years or is it 15
    you just aren't told its doing it
    but oddly once you are it is public

     

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  10.  
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    tack, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:21am

    Re:

    Hi, you must be new to the internet. Everything is indexed and cached and not just by google.

     

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  11.  
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    vyvyan, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 4:51am

    UK Govt. is becoming synonymous with technical illiterate. It won't be long before it's listed in thesauri worldwide.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:24am

    Re:

    Or was told to by N'obama, needed some more smoke for the socialist agenda...

     

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  13.  
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    ethorad (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Re:

    Agree that there are websites out there which aren't specifically preserved by third parties (search engine cache and various internet archive sites aside). However, local criminals will be a point of interest for the local community so I'm sure that there will be a specific interest to retain this data.

    Basically someone who is interested in keeping tabs on crime in their local community - Neighbourhood Watch, etc style. For example I'm sure someone will have a Google Maps mashup that takes the police data and tags it on a map of the UK (if there isn't one already of course!). Once the data is copied from the police site and into someone else's database it's that bit harder to delete.

     

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  14.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    Thanks, Bush Administration.

    Add - Congress for voting for it and the Obama Administration for continuing it.

     

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  15.  
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    Nicholas Overstreet (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    "Fanatic"?
    Hardly. It takes 5 minutes to set up a program like httrack to rip a website daily or even hourly.

     

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  16.  
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    Jim L, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Never Goes Away

    When I first started playing with the web (1994 or so) a friend told me that once you post something online (including email) that it never goes away.
    The longer I live the more I believe it's true

     

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  17.  
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    Mechwarrior, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    Hey man, you voted for the Patriot Act. Shouldn't you be angry about your personal agenda instead?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re:

    Hi, you must be new tothe internet. Indexing and caching doesn't mean stuff exists forver even if it's done by google.

     

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  19.  
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    Joe, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    This will last until...

    Theses sort of lists sound good in meetings. Name and Shame, John Lists, Blame where blame is due etc.

    Until you make up your list and at some point you have a typo. Dan Smith of Cardiff instead of Don Smith of Cardiff. All of a sudden Dan Smith has people saying 'Dan was arrested with a prostitute?'. Add in one pontificating lawyer, cries that 'this list put my life in ruins', and the list gets quietly taken down.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    Basically if the local community is interested in some info ona police web site they can read it and remember it - that's the whole point of putting on the web inthe first place. Anything no oneis interested in gets deleted which means .... deleted.
    The police don't maintain an ever growing list of criminals and criminal activity online, which is also OK.

     

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  21.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    im not sure how some of you people think there is much to scraping as used in this situation.

    you write your script to run the scraper then automate it to run at certain intervals. once that is done the only time you have to spend on it is when something causes it to fail. for someone that can code a scraper, there is little time spent on it. and those who cant code? theres an app for that......

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    The Droid Sucks.

     

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  23.  
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    Will, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But it does mean that it exists on the internet for longer then the intended month.

     

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  24.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 5th, 2009 @ 12:40am

    The isue is that there are commercially sold programs that allow for data to be recovered.

    So it's easily possibl to have something that's deleted years ago come back and haunt you.

     

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  25.  
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    ricardo, Oct 31st, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    ha

     

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  26.  
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    D.L. Bloom, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:32am

    Re: Unpublishing

    Very good observation.
    Have a nice Christmas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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