Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Chris Johnson and the case of the amazing disappearing post

As if this blog wasn't quiet enough, someone has been trying to reduce the post count even further. Reader may recall a brief blogstorm concerning a so-called journalist Christopher Johnson, who was unceremoniously refused entry to Japan when he did not have a valid working visa. Unfortunately, many of the original articles written by Johnson have been deleted, but you can get the gist of it (including the evidence of him covering his tracks) from the various links in the two posts I made previously.

Anyway, time passed....and then without any warning or explanation, the second blog post vanished. However, this only happened on the .ca domain which I just linked to there (ca means Canada, where Johnson appears to be a citizen and resident). Amusingly, I wouldn't have even noticed this had it not been for Johnson emailing me a few weeks ago to crow about it, as the post is still visible on the jp, uk and com domains which I tend to use.

The link from the deleted page to chillingeffects was not informative when I first looked at it - saying merely that the document was not available yet - so I wrote to them to ask about it. As if by magic, a letter from one Chris Johnson came on-line a few days later. I've got no idea when the page deletion happened, but the letter itself is dated Sept 2012, so it might have been almost 2 years ago. His letter refers to a number of pages, some of which (youtube videos) have vanished and others (japanprobe.com) which have not. Canada is reputed to be one of the most obliging jurisdictions for defamation cases (along with the UK), but according to wikipedia, it is established in Canadian law that publishing links even to defamatory material is not itself defamatory, so I think he'll have a tough time arguing for this post to be deleted.

I'm not sure whether or how this is related to the "right to be forgotten" in which Google has agreed to requests to wipe results from its search engine (e.g. see this Guardian article today). Johnson's letter as printed does not actually ask for any specific action, but it does refer to google search results. However, rather than merely censoring search results, Blogger (which is of course part of Google) has just deleted my page without warning or explanation. But in both cases, it seems that the Streisand effect may well come into play...

3 comments:

crandles said...

Weird. I had also assumed this right to be forgotten only affected search results. At time of posting searching for
Much ado about nothing Chris Johnson

First link gives your working .com address, 6th link has a link to your forum question headed "Why is this post unavailable?"

If I use Google.ca instead then these posts are 1st and 8th. Not sure if that is how it appears in Canada.

Surely posting truth should be allowed (for a hypothetical case of course) and you not getting the opportunity to respond seems to prevent a fair right of reply though I am sure lots of arbitrary decisions will be made to attempt to keep costs down.

Will he be happy about these effects I wonder? How long does it take for the next request to reach the top of the pile?

What about the process of
1) Take copy of post
2) Wait a couple of months for request to get set in
3) Copy text to another post.
4) When a page disappears add another copy.
5) Automate process of seaching to see if any pages have been deleted and replacing them.

I am sure there will be enquiring minds wanting to know how this gets on.

Chuck Magee said...

this link seems to still work:
http://julesandjames.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/much-ado-about-nothing-chris-johnson.html

pough said...

This part of the takedown request made me smile:

He writes, without verifiable and true evidence: "Johnson is now trying to intimidate me into deleting those blog posts. He wants my criticism of his article to disappear from the internet."