The coming of the internet heralded the loss of privacy, something that was highlighted all the more as the internet and social media penetrated each and every corner of our lives. It is said that nothing is ever truly gone once it is on the internet, making it nearly impossible to take it down.
Google agrees with these sentiments, and now, it is making it easier for you to request the removal of your personal information from its search results. So if you do not want to see, say, your phone number, log-in credentials, or email address (or even your home address) pop up in Google’s search results, then you can request the company to remove the same from the search results in order to protect your privacy.
So far, you have been able to request the removal of sensitive information such as bank account or credit card numbers from Google Search. But as the internet continues to evolve and information keeps popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways, Michelle Chang, Global Policy Lead for Search, Google, said that its policies and protections need to evolve as well.
“On Google Search, we already have a set of policies that allow people to request the removal of certain content from Search, with a focus on highly personal content that, if public, can cause direct harm to people,” Chang added.
Note that Google will only consider your request if the information includes confidential log-in credentials, government ID numbers, bank account and credit card numbers, images of handwritten signatures or ID docs, medical records, and personal contact information.
This begs the question, what do you have to do in order to request Google? Fill up Google’s search results removal form with the necessary information, such as selecting “Personal info, like ID numbers and private documents” when you are asked what kind of data you want to remove.
Then specify what kind of information you are talking about such as your contact details or driver’s license, in order to remove such information from showing up on live websites. (Check the box indicating that the content is live). Then you are asked whether the request pertains to doxxing. Answer accordingly, following which Google will request your full name, country of residence, and email.
You should provide all the web addresses where you have found your personal information popping up (you can submit up to 1,000 web addresses at a time).
Once you have submitted the removal request, you will receive an automated email confirmation, and Google will review your request and gather more information if needed. However, note that Google may deny your request as well or remove the provided URLs for all queries (or queries that include your name). Either way, you will be notified of the actions taken.