Though the Crown confirmed all charges against Muliyil were dropped three weeks ago, most of the information about him still online does not acknowledge his innocence. Much of the rush to judgment online presumes his guilt.
White said Google has informed cyber-law specialist David Potts, now working on Muliyil’s case, that the information will have to be removed by the original sources and then Google will consider removing any links.
Google was contacted by the Star, but did not respond.
The teacher was suspended with pay from Fletcher’s Creek Senior Public School in Brampton, and also lost his volunteer position coaching with the Oakville Thunder Volleyball Club. He has yet to be reinstated in either position.
News of Muliyil’s arrest spread across the web like a virus, ending up on blogs and sites such as whosyourneighbour.ca, where the arrest is still featured under a banner that reads: “Sexual Offenders and Predators.”
White said the site and whosyourneighbour.ca have been contacted about removing the information, but neither has responded. Other sites have also been contacted.
“It’s about understanding the territory of cyberspace and deciding which ones are easiest to approach,” said Potts, author of Cyberlibel: Information Warfare in the 21st Century?
Sometimes it’s easiest to get the Internet service provider, such as Rogers or Bell, to cut off the site for violating anti-defamation agreements in contracts, he said. Going after the source site is sometimes difficult, particularly if it’s not based in Canada.
“But they can be cut off so no one will ever see it,” Potts said.
Search engines can be approached as well, he said, acknowledging that once the information is put online, it’s sometimes difficult to ever get it removed — but not impossible. “There’s no blanket approach.”