Google allows individuals to request removal of more personally identifiable information from search results.
The search giant already allows people to request that it remove results with content that could lead to identity theft or fraud, such as credit card numbers and bank details. Now, that list has been expanded to include contact information, including your email address, phone number, and physical address.
“The availability of personal contact information online can be shocking — and it can be used in harmful ways, including for unwanted direct contact or even physical harm,” wrote Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy manager for research, in a blog post Wednesday. .
Google will now also remove search results containing information at risk of hacking, such as logins and passwords.
The deletion of these results is not automatic. Individuals must file a request, which includes a list of URLs that link to sensitive information and the search pages that show those links. Google will then determine whether their removal restricts access to information already in the public record or is part of something that is “widely useful”, such as a news article.
“In such cases, we will not carry out removals,” Chang said.
Depending on the content and context, Google may remove links from all search results or only from results that include your name.
Even if the company agrees to remove your information from search results, Chang added, it’s not the same as removing it from the Internet. Someone could always go directly to the site to find your information.
The new guidelines follow an October 2021 policy update allowing minors — or their parents — to request removal of their images from Google search results.
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