Faulty background checks are violating privacy and ruining lives

Having a past conviction can impact many aspects of your life, especially your privacy. In today’s world, personal information is readily available online, and a criminal record can be easily accessed by employers, landlords, and even casual acquaintances. However, there are steps you can take to protect your privacy and minimize the negative effects of a past conviction.

Understanding the Impact of a Past Conviction

A past conviction can follow you long after you have served your sentence. It can affect your ability to find a job, secure housing, and even maintain relationships. Many people are unaware of how much their criminal record is accessible to others, often through a simple online search. Knowing how to remove a criminal record from public view can be a significant step in regaining your privacy and improving your life.

Employment Challenges

One of the most significant impacts of a past conviction is on employment. Many employers conduct background checks as part of the hiring process. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), over 80% of employers perform criminal background checks on prospective employees. If a conviction shows up, it can severely limit your job opportunities.

Housing Difficulties

Landlords also frequently perform background checks on potential tenants. A criminal record can lead to rejection, making it difficult to find a place to live. The National Multifamily Housing Council reports that 70% of landlords use criminal background checks to screen applicants.

Social Stigma

The social stigma associated with a criminal record can affect personal relationships. Friends, family members, and acquaintances who learn about your past may treat you differently. This can lead to feelings of isolation and decreased self-esteem.

Steps to Protect Your Privacy

There are several steps you can take to protect your privacy and mitigate the effects of a past conviction. These include legal measures, online strategies, and personal actions.

Legal Measures

The first step in protecting your privacy is to explore legal measures for removing or sealing your criminal record. This process, known as expungement or sealing, can make your record inaccessible to the public.

Expungement and Sealing

Expungement involves legally destroying or erasing your criminal record, while sealing means that the record is hidden from public view but still exists. Eligibility for these processes varies by state and the nature of the offense. Research your state’s laws to determine if you qualify and understand how to remove a criminal record.

Consulting an Attorney

Hiring an attorney who specializes in criminal record expungement can greatly increase your chances of success. They can help you navigate the legal system, file the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court if needed.

Online Strategies

Even if you manage to get your record expunged or sealed, it may still be accessible online. Implementing online strategies can help protect your privacy further.

Monitoring Your Online Presence

Regularly search for your name online to see what information is available about you. Set up Google Alerts for your name to receive notifications when new information appears. This can help you stay aware of any potential privacy breaches.

Requesting Content Removal

If you find information about your past conviction online, contact the website administrators and request its removal. Some websites may comply, especially if the information is outdated or inaccurate. Knowing how to remove a criminal record from search engines can be particularly helpful.

Managing Social Media

Be cautious about what you share on social media. Adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts and personal information. Avoid discussing your past conviction online, as this can make it easier for people to find out about it.

Personal Actions

In addition to legal and online measures, there are personal actions you can take to protect your privacy and improve your life with a past conviction.

Building a Positive Reputation

Work on building a positive reputation in your community and professional circles. Volunteer, pursue further education, and engage in positive activities. This can help overshadow your past and show others that you have moved on and are making positive contributions.

Being Honest

While it is important to protect your privacy, being honest about your past when necessary can also be beneficial. For example, if an employer asks about your criminal history, explain the situation honestly and focus on how you have changed and what you have learned.

Seeking Support

Joining support groups or seeking counseling can help you cope with the emotional impact of having a past conviction. Support from others who have gone through similar experiences can be invaluable.

The Importance of Taking Action

Taking action to protect your privacy is crucial. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can become to manage the information that is available about you. Start by researching how to remove a criminal record and take the necessary steps to improve your situation.

Understanding Your Rights

It is important to understand your rights regarding your criminal record. Different states have different laws regarding expungement and sealing, and knowing these laws can help you take the appropriate actions.

Being Proactive

Be proactive in managing your online presence and personal information. Regularly check your online presence, request content removal when necessary, and be mindful of what you share online.

Staying Informed

Laws and technologies change over time, so it is important to stay informed about new developments that can affect your privacy. This can help you take advantage of new opportunities to protect your information.


Protecting your privacy with a past conviction involves a combination of legal measures, online strategies, and personal actions. By understanding how to remove a criminal record, monitoring your online presence, and building a positive reputation, you can minimize the impact of your past and move forward with your life. Taking these steps can help you regain control of your privacy and improve your overall well-being.