There was a discussion today on the Shack based on my previous two blog posts. Specifically, the concern was that these two people are going to be marked for a long time by their crimes because the Internet doesn't forget.
It is a valid concern. While people have memories that fade, bits last for a long time.
My personal stance regarding the two individuals in question is that there are three ways that you can approach an embarassing situation from the past.
One, you can do nothing about it and let the memories fade. Search engines are driven by links, and the fewer recent links you have, the less likely that it will show up on top.
Two, you can incorporate it into your identity. Hell, I'm embarassed about several actions I took back in 2006 and before, but I own the decisions I made. I've incorporated them into who I am online and I take responsibility for my past. My boss knows both the good and the bad and knows from how I have handled the situations that I am a man of strong convictions and a fairly steady moral compass.
Three, you can fight back. Fighting works well when it is something that you didn't do, but not so well when it is something that you did. Take a look at Michael Crook. He was embarassed by an appearance on Hannity & Combes that resurfaced and he fought back using every tool available to him...and several that legally weren't like DMCA reports. The end result...further humiliation.
Internet humiliation is like a Chinese finger trap. The more you fight, the worse it gets. Flow with it or live with it.