Should privacy laws protect murderers?
Wikipedia is under a censorship attack by a convicted murderer who is invoking Germany’s privacy laws in a bid to remove references to his killing of a Bavarian actor in 1990.
Lawyers for Wolfgang Werle, of Erding, Germany, sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding removal of Werle’s name from the Wikipedia entry on actor Walter Sedlmayr. The lawyers cite German court rulings that “have held that our client’s name and likeness cannot be used anymore in publication regarding Mr. Sedlmayr’s death.”
Occasionally I receive requests from people I've posted about, in regard to some hoax or fraud they committed in the past. They want me to remove or anonymize their name, because any google search for them immediately brings up MOH as the top link. They complain that it's become impossible for them to escape the stupid thing they did in their past. Depending on what they did (for instance, if it was a prank or petty crime), and how long ago they did it, I will consider anonymizing their last name by reducing it to a single letter. After all, I think people do deserve a second chance, and I don't want to be the one responsible for single-handedly casting a shadow over the rest of their life. But in the case of murder I think it's going too far to expect to have the slate wiped entirely clean.
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