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Some years ago, as a group project in school, I and my group published on a certain page (REDACTED.wordpress.com) information including things like my name, email, phone number, pictures, etc. It was years ago and I don't remember exactly who hosted the website. Their (my group's) contact info is there as well, but I'd rather not have to contact them directly to try and have the page taken down, so that's like a last resort for now. I'd like to deal with this with the people running Wordpress. I've tried reaching out to them but got no real success so far. I have ways to prove my identity and the information.

Can I use international privacy laws to have the Wordpress staff take down the entire page, or at least parts that have my personal information?

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    There's no such thing as international privacy law (unless you mean European Union privacy law, which only applies in the EU). Just ask the group to take down the information. One way or another, it's not going to be removed from the Internet without them knowing that you requested it. – Ross Ridge Mar 5 '20 at 9:25
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Automattic (who run wordpress.com) aren't responsible for the content others post on to their platform. From their Terms:

We have not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the content (such as, but not limited to, text, photo, video, audio, code, computer software, items for sale, or other materials) posted to our Services by users or anyone else (“Content”) and are not responsible for any use or effects of such Content. So, for example:

  • If you post Content, comment on a website, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) Content available on our Services, you are entirely responsible for the Content, and any harm resulting from, that Content or your conduct.

  • We are not a party to, and will have no responsibility or liability for, any communications, transactions, interactions, or disputes between you and the provider of any Content.

The school group is responsible for the content, and Automattic won't participate in, facilitate or arbitrate any [potential] dispute you have with the group.

The person who posted the content or their successor is entirely responsible for it and its removal. You do need to contact them and request its removal. That might be the group or its representative, or the school itself. If you have your own access, since you were a member of the group who set it up, then go ahead and remove it.

As for law, GDPR in the EU (including the UK at the moment) protects citizens of EU countries and binds companies with an operating presence in the EU. That doesn't appear to apply to Automattic. I'm unaware of any domestic US law which would apply [but that doesn't mean there isn't any].

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    I am not sure if it is actually possible for a website to abolish any responsibility for user-uploaded content simply by writing so in their TOS. If it is, somebody should have told Kim Dotcom. – Philipp Mar 5 '20 at 16:17
  • Well, I suppose they haven't disclaimed that responsibility specifically, but are denying third-party liability (a) to anyone who is damaged by using bad content (b) to anyone damaged by someone else using the content. However, they are making uploaders liable, and are explicitly not a party between content providers and any disputant. – Andrew Leach Mar 5 '20 at 16:28
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In most of the US, none of the personal information you've listed is considered private. Perhaps you're too young to remember the existence of White Pages; books which listed everyone's name, address and phone number.

You can ask your group nicely to remove the contact information. They do not need to oblige. Wordpress will not take part in the removal of this sort of thing.

IF, however, the pictures are yours (i.e. taken by you) then perhaps you could rescind the liscence to use them and file a DMCA notice to have them removed from the site. Note that your group will be notified of this action and will be required to respond to it. Potentially, this could lead to a lawsuit; so weigh whether this is really that important. Especially considering this is a small, unknown, Wordpress site, getting little to no traffic, and therefor has very little SEO presence.

  • The laws regarding protection of personally identifiable information developed a lot in the past 30 years. A person's address and phone number are considered private information in many jurisdictions. – Philipp Mar 5 '20 at 16:23
  • Right, I'll add a note that my answer is meant for most of the US, since it's not clear where OP is. – Luck Mar 5 '20 at 16:28
  • Since I want to handle things with Wordpress' staff using international laws (or laws of wherever Wordpress' HQ is), I thought my own location wouldn't matter much in this case. – John Zhau Mar 6 '20 at 5:00
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Yeah, they are assisting theft otherwise. Get a lawyer and write a demand letter.

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    Lawyering-up and demanding is hardly a first step when a polite personal request to the right people may well be sufficient. – Andrew Leach Mar 5 '20 at 9:35
  • I'd rather just contact them than burn money on a laywer... – John Zhau Mar 5 '20 at 10:10

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