NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

Online Reputation Often Outlasts Criminal Record

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feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Do you have a right to be forgotten?

There are probably a lot of things you’d like people to forget you did. The unfortunate Christmas party incident, for example. Your 1980s era fashion choices. But what about an arrest in your background that never led to a conviction or a conviction that has since been expunged?

Information may be too available.

Many courthouses have arrest records on line, mug shot websites proliferate, and now some police departments are live tweeting prostitution stings. That’s tough to explain to your wife. And your prospective employer.

The problem for many people is that although they can honestly tell a prospective employer that they have a clean record, search engines make it possible to search old stories to find out about the crimes even though the record has been purged.

As a result, Alaska, following in the footsteps of a Georgia law, is currently considering a bill that would close off public access to records in which charges were dismissed or the defendant was found not guilty.

Victims rights advocates oppose the measure; people arrested but not convicted don’t think their record should haunt them like a bad haircut forever.

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