It’s no secret that privacy and safety are important when it comes to using the internet. Unfortunately, there are many ways that your personal information can end up online and thus pose a security issue for you. Because of this, Google has announced that they are expanding on their existing policy for removing personal information from Search to now include phone numbers, email or physical addresses, and information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as log-in credentials.
This policy expansion has been put in place in the hopes of stopping bad actors from using personally-identifying information for doxxing, financial fraud, unwanted direct contact, or even physical harm. Those that come across personal information in Google Search that shouldn’t be there are encouraged to request the removal of this information from Search. However, Google is quick to advise that this does not remove the information from the internet, and a reach out to the hosting site directly may be needed to remove it completely.
When we receive removal requests, we will evaluate all content on the web page to ensure that we’re not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful, for instance in news articles. We’ll also evaluate if the content appears as part of the public record on the sites of government or official sources. In such cases, we won’t make removals.The Keyword
Google says they are always expanding and searching for new ways to use their policies to safeguard their users’ privacy, citing a recent policy to enable people under the age of 18 (or their parent or guardian) to request the removal of their images from Google Search results. As a parent, it is alarming to imagine your child’s image popping up in search results across the web, so knowing that we now have more straightforward tools to remove that content is very encouraging.