Cases like that of Toni Bennett, who recently had Google remove a post accusing him of being a paedophile and a thief, are easy for review sites to resolve at a stroke – simply ban the anonymity that surrounds the accusers.
Any posting to these websites should be subject to a verification process which exposes the reviewers’ email address, telephone number and personal details. However, at present the websites choose not to do this for reasons known only to them selves. Anyone posting a comment should be prepared to stand by what they say and stand up and be counted.
Unless the Government passes legislation, these sites will proliferate and continue to damage the reputations of undeserving victims.
The Government should draft 21st century legislation to deal with 21st century problems. The contact details for many sites, not just review sites, are shrouded in secrecy. There should be absolute transparency. I would like to see postal and telephone contact details on all websites and a compulsory complaints procedure in place.
It is easy for search engines to act on this… they just remove non-compliant sites from their searches – simple!
It is time for the web to be policed. After all, solicitors, accountants, insurance companies, doctors, dentists, chiropodists, osteopaths, gas fitters, electrical installers, surveyors etc are all subject to regulation. Why not website proprietors?
The time for voluntary regulation is over. The industry has not self regulated so the Government has to take control.James Mather, Director, Expert Answers