Individual data privacy is finally gaining steam in a lot of places. There are more state laws being passed than ever before and even the businesses that prosper off the holdings of this data are doing more to allow people to protect their likeness online. Today, we want to discuss how to remove some of your personal data from a Google Search result.
Google is the unquestioned authority in search engines. Not only is an internet search synonymous with the company handle, the second-largest western search engine is YouTube, a fellow Alphabet subsidiary. With that level of predominance, Google has a responsibility to help people do their best to control what data is available to others online. This is why they have updated their policies for removing personally identifiable information from Google Search results.
Let’s go through some of the steps Google has taken to help people protect their personally identifiable information online.
For a long time Google has allowed people to request the removal of certain information. They have expanded it recently. The list that you can now request to get removed from Google Search results include:
- Confidential identifying information issued by a government agency
- Bank account information
- Credit card numbers
- Images of handwritten signatures
- Images of identifying documents
- Electronic personal health information
- Addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
- Login credentials
Google has also made efforts to work with people to remove information connected with doxxing. Doxxing is the act of illegally releasing (often public) personal information to harass, stalk or intimidate a person. While this information isn’t typically considered for removal by Google standards, the malicious way certain information is released can be grounds for immediate removal.
Users have the option to contact Google to remove information from Google Search or to prevent information from showing in Google Search.
In most cases Google will work to remove the personal information from Search results if it is a legitimate complaint, but often the issue is that the information is found on a website (or multiple) and should really be removed from that source, as Google web crawlers typically categorize all information found on websites.
When Google receives requests for the removal of information, they will evaluate all content on the web page to make sure it is not part of a public record. If it is deemed a legitimate request, the team at Google will go ahead and remove it from Search. Of course, if it is still on the Internet, contacting Google won’t do anything about that, as other search engines will likely still have that information available.
If you need to request some information removed from Google Search, follow this link.
What do you think? Do you think that it’s helpful that Google makes an effort to help people keep their data privacy in check, or do you think they should do more? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and check back for more great tips and tricks.