Google approves removal of personal information from Search

Eberechukwu Etike
Users can now remove private information from Google Search…

Google has expanded policy options for keeping private information, including phone numbers and email addresses, from the public. This is to avoid the exploitation of private information, especially in cases of financial fraud and doxxing.

In a statement, Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy lead for search, stated that the availability of personal contact information online can be unsettling, and it could be exploited in negative ways, including for unwelcome direct contact or even physical violence.

People have complained about this privacy setting, and they would like to be able to remove this type of information from Search in some situations, Chang added.

Related: Google delists 17 apps from Play store for copying users phone numbers

How it will work

Google now lets you request removal of more personally identifiable infromation from Search
Source; XDA-developers

According to a statement on Google’s blog, when they get removal requests, they will assess all content on the web page to verify they are not impeding the availability of other information widely beneficial, such as news items.

Google will also look to see if the content is part of the public record on government or official sources’ websites. They will not undertake removals in such circumstances.

You can request the removal of your personal information by going to the website and filling out the form. Google will send you an automated email confirmation once you have submitted. It will be reviewed based on the criteria listed above and in some cases, additional information might be needed by google. You will get a notification afterwards confirming or declining your request.

Google is continuously looking for innovative ways to make sure the policies and built-in safeguards are current and simple to use.

In addition to this update, It recently implemented a new policy that allows anyone under the legal age (or their parent or guardian) can request that their images be removed from Google Search results.

Related: #SaferInternetDay2022: Google to expand 2-Step Verification auto enrollments

Information that can now be removed

Google will now accept removal requests for the following sorts of content, according to a Google support page:

  • Confidential government identity (ID) numbers  
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit cards numbers
  • Image of written signatures 
  • Images of ID documents
  • High profiled records, like medical records
  • Contact information for individuals (physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses)
  • Confidential login credentials

Requests for content removal in cases of doxxing should meet the following criteria:

  • Your contact information is included.
  • There are explicit or implicit threats, as well as explicit or implicit requests for people to harm or harass you.

Final note

It is crucial to realise that removing anything from Google Search will not remove it from the internet, which is why, if you’re comfortable doing so, you should contact the hosting site directly.

Open access to information, and equipping individuals with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep sensitive, personally identifiable information private, is one of Search’s main goals,

“That’s why we’re making changes to our policies to make it easier for users to manage their online presence in Search,” Google said.

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