As time goes on, most of us become more and more aware of how much of our personal information is readily available on the Internet, and we also become more aware of how much of a bad thing that is. It’s not a simple matter to erase it all off the Internet, but now Google has made some changes to their policy that will make things a bit easier.
Google posted a blog that details the steps you can take in order to request your information to be removed from the web. This includes your phone numbers, email addresses, as well as your home address which can be removed from Google search results.
The post was written by Michelle Chang, who is Google’s Global Policy Lead for Search. In the post, she writes: “Privacy and online safety go hand in hand. And when you’re using the internet, it’s important to have control over how your sensitive, personally identifiable information can be found.”
She continued: “Open access to information is a key goal of Search, but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private. That’s why we’re updating our policies to help people take more control of their online presence in Search.”
The bottom line is that you simply have to file a removal request, which will then be reviewed by a team of investigators. They will then determine if the information is of public interest (like official content) and then will send an email with the decision of if the request has been approved.
If your request is denied, the email will explain why it was not approved for removal. You can resubmit your request with more material to support your case of why your request should be accepted.
The policy change seeks to protect people from being doxxed, which involves someone maliciously sharing a person’s personal data in order to be harassed.
Google’s previous policy allowed users to request information to be removed that includes credit card information, signatures, medical records, or IDs that could be used in fraudulent ways.
The removal of this information will meant that it will be removed from Google searches, however it’s important to remember that this information can still be located in other locations online.