Google can now remove search results containing your phone number, address, or email

midian182

Posts: 7,895   +82
Staff member
What just happened? You can find out a lot about a person just by Googling their name, but Google is now letting people remove more of their personal information from these results that could pose a danger, including physical addresses, phone numbers, and passwords.

Google has long allowed people to request certain sensitive, personally identifiable content be removed from its search results, such as confidential government identification, images of handwritten signatures, and bank account/credit card details.

Now, Google has expanded its list to include images of ID docs, confidential login credentials, and personal contact info (physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses). Additionally, Google will remove non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images, Deepfakes, images of minors, and doxxing content, which requires explicit or implicit threats or explicit or implicit calls to action for others to harm or harass.

"Research has told us there's a larger amount of personally identifiable information that users consider as sensitive," Michelle Chang, global policy lead for Google search, told Reuters. "They are increasingly unwilling to tolerate this content online."

Asking Google to remove something from its search results involves sending in URLs that include your personal information and search pages that surface the links. The company will then decide if it warrants removal from the search results but warns that it will try to preserve anything newsworthy, professionally relevant, from the government (part of the public record), or is determined to be in the public interest.

Google does remind people that the information is only being removed from its search results, not from the sites hosting it, and can be surfaced through other search engines.

Google approves only about 13% of the tens of thousands of removal requests it receives each year, though it expects the removal rate to increase in light of the expanded options.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,699   +6,640
The question is, to me, will they actually do it if you request them to do so?

And not only that, but how many search engines will also have to allow this so that one can be scrubbed from the internet if one wants to be?

The trouble with this is that sites like "My Life" post information like this without explicit permission - and having to request that sites like that take stuff like this down is a pure PITA.

I hate to say this, but in the US, at least, until posting information like this is made against the law, nothing will change.

But, what the heck. My conservative friends, always advocates of less government intrusion, are legislating what I read, what I do in my bedroom, how and for whom I vote, how I educate my children, etc., so they should be open to a privacy law that prevents posting this kind of information without explicit permission from whomever it concerns. ;)

We would not need that if humans were ethical creatures. 🤷‍♂️
 
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PEnnn

Posts: 772   +876
Not much will change. Because in the US, unlike the the EU and other civilized places on this planet, business interests are valued much, much higher than public interest. US Privacy laws? What a joke!!

You can bet a boatload of 3090TIs that the odious Repitilicans will be against this because it will be............"onerous for businesses"!!
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,149   +2,652
Google will remove it, but, I'm sure it all depends on how woke you are, or, which side of the political fence you sit. ;)
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,037   +1,193
The question is, to me, will they actually do it if you request them to do so?

And not only that, but how many search engines will also have to allow this so that one can be scrubbed from the internet if one wants to be?

The trouble with this is that sites like "My Life" post information like this without explicit permission - and having to request that sites like that take stuff like this down is a pure PITA.

I hate to say this, but in the US, at least, until posting information like this is made against the law, nothing will change.

But, what the heck. My conservative friends, always advocates of less government intrusion, are legislating what I read, what I do in my bedroom, how and for whom I vote, how I educate my children, etc., so they should be open to a privacy law that prevents posting this kind of information without explicit permission from whomever it concerns. ;)

We would not need that if humans were ethical creatures. 🤷‍♂️

Education is the CURE for ignorance!
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 271   +191
Google will remove it, but, I'm sure it all depends on how woke you are, or, which side of the political fence you sit. ;)
The 2 party system is a load of bull. I sit right in the middle and have been entertained by both sides. It's like a bad tv series and it's rather enjoyable. I hope both sides duke it out, leaving each other battered, and all that's left are the middle folk who just don't care.
 

eforce

Posts: 950   +1,361
Google has no issues removing your data from their servers as your data has already been backed up to the NSA.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +723
The question is, to me, will they actually do it if you request them to do so?
Yes. You have to get in touch with the Google legal team and you have to serve them the order to suppress data via an attorney through legal documentation, but they will comply. Trust me on this one. My "real life" online presence is almost zero. You have to know what to do and how to do it, but it can be done. For example, on Google Maps(or any maps platform for that matter), if you knew my address and tried to look it up on a map, it would not show anything but a blur.
 
Even if you suppress your data in Google's search results, it'll still be on the sites themselves and still show up in other search engines.

Most of the sites you might show up on have a way to remove your data that you can find with a search like "<site name> opt out", or a read-through of their privacy policy.

Plug for my business: My friend and I run a service called EasyOptOuts that searches for you and removes you from over a hundred people-search sites. There are other similar paid services, but they all seem too expensive, which is why we started our service. We're by far the most affordable. Check us out if you're interested!