Lindemann Law

How to clear unjust convictions and false information from World-Check, social media and the internet

Unforeseen challenges for new citizenships, residence permits, bank accounts, and property acquisitions

We frequently help clients who encounter unforeseen challenges while opening bank accounts, acquiring new property, and obtaining new citizenship or residence permits. Cleaning your digital footprint of unjust convictions in violation of human rights and false information, including listings in World-Check, may become an essential step to a successful immigration or business endeavor. In this newsletter, we explain the possibilities based on our experience.

How can World-Check, internet or social media information affect my applications?

Today, migration authorities, financial institutions and other business run compulsory KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures before they would cooperate with any individual.

As their first point of entry into the KYC check, migration and compliance officers will scrutinize the customer’s profile against databases such as World-Check that identify potentially high-risk clients. The reason for inclusion into such a database can be criminal proceedings initiated against an individual, or political or business exposure. One of the vivid examples of business exposure is a past conviction for the so-called «white collar crime» which will be known to the database web crawlers and human editors from publicly available online pages. No subject’s consent is required to be included into and then listed in such a database, and, as well, the subject is not notified.

Can I clear my name from World-Check if I was wrongly convicted?

However, not all criminal proceedings have sufficient legal justification. Sadly, in numerous countries even courts are used as a tool to quench a competitor, uncooperative business partner or political enemies. Corruption exists in many forms: may it be money or political power. Politically or corruption-driven court proceedings can be recognized by a set of human rights violations.

With the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) widely accepted as the benchmark standard thanks to extensive case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, most frequently violated provisions of the Convention are the Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) of the ECHR (Right to a fair trial), and Article 1 of the Protocol №1 to the Convention (Protection of Property) and Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life). A correct and profoundly substantiated appeal to these provisions has been key to securing positive decisions by financial institutions even for clients coming from countries where the ECHR does not apply. It is important to know that provisions similar to the ones in the ECHR are enshrined in other human rights treaties ratified globally.

Can I use the GDPR to remove outdated or false information about myself from the internet?

Certain information about your past may be no longer relevant to your present life, sources of income, preoccupations, family and even philosophy or beliefs. The General Data Protection Regulation of the European Parliament, commonly known as the GDPR, enables you to demand publicly available media such as websites, newspapers, video portals as well as restricted access commercial databases or software companies to remove outdated or otherwise false information. The GDPR contains an exhaustive list of grounds for legitimate data processing and serves as a paradigm for national legislation in this field for many countries all over the world.

How can I use LINDEMANNLAW AI to clean up my digital footprint?

Artificial intelligence can be a useful tool to help you understand your digital footprint, which includes the traces and data you leave behind on the internet. AI-powered tools help find data about your company and you on social media platforms and in public registries.  Newer AI-powered search engines focused on personalities, reputation, and branding, can systematically locate and trace links to information about you that has been made public.

Already simple steps like setting up search engine alerts for your name, its combinations and related terms on Google or other engines can help you monitor the online media landscape. However, the  systematic LINDEMANNLAW AI approach can determine how you and your company are perceived in the world at large and detect emerging threats to your reputation early on. We work with open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools to set up a custom-tailored, cutting-edge AI driven issue monitoring for you. This will allow you to remain ahead of the curve in protecting your reputation and take legal and other action in a timely manner should the need arise.

AI-powered tools can be invaluable in removing personal data from various websites and online services. However, information portals, newspapers, television, and streaming services, which often deal with privacy related requests, generally have strict data handling procedures in place. . Hence, in most cases professional legal assistance is required to intervene successfully.

Can I use the GDPR’s “right to be forgotten” to clear my name from World-Check or other online sources?

One of the distinct legal features of the GDPR is the Right to erasure, most commonly known as the ‘Right to be forgotten’. Since the introduction of the EU Directive 95/46, which was predecessor to the GDPR, it has been acknowledged that information no longer relevant, processed without consent and not sufficiently contributing to public interest or freedom of expression shall be deleted by entities controlling such information.

Official interpretations of the GDPR as well as the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) have established how exactly the provisions of the GDPR may be used to clean a person’s digital footprint based on the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her. Governmental bodies in numerous states outside the European Union comply with national information laws containing rights similar to the right to be forgotten contained in the GDPR. In our experience human rights violations in conjunction with the GDPR can be successfully used to remove inaccurate negative information about our clients from sources such as World-Check, the Internet or social media and facilitate the steps necessary to obtain a new citizenship, new funding sources, open new bank accounts or acquire new real estate.

We have extensive experience of the information sources used by immigration authorities, banks and real estate agents, and offer a comprehensive range of AI-based tools combined with databases such as World-Check to find relevant information about you on the internet and social media as well as with clearing convictions and criminal proceedings in violation of human rights and clearing your digital footprint.

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