Recently, Google revealed it is expanding the sphere of personal information that can be removed from search results. As part of this change, users will be able to remove sensitive personal such as contact details and login credentials. Previously, this was limited to just bank details. The updated policy enables users to have more control over their data that can be accessed by a basic Google search.
In order to remove your personal info from Google search results, you will have to submit a request, which will be evaluated by Google further. There are certain requirements for this process that we discuss in detail further. Along with that, we will learn to put up a request for the elimination of personal data.
Google says that a user needs to have a few specifics in personal data for removal:
- Confidential government identification (ID) numbers like U.S. Social Security Number, Argentine Single Tax Identification Number, Brazil Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, Korea Resident Registration Number, China Resident Identity Card, etc.
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Images of handwritten signatures
- Images of ID docs
- Highly personal, restricted, and official records, like medical records
- Personal contact info (physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses)
- Confidential login credentials
Similarly, if you’re looking to remove doxxing content, here are the requirements:
- Existence of your contact info
- Presence of explicit or implicit threats
- Presence of explicit or implicit calls to action for others to harm or harass
As per Google, you or your authorized representative can submit a request for the removal process. In the case of an authorized representative, they will be required to prove how they have the authority to act on your behalf.
Step 1: Visit this Google page to initiate the request for the removal of personal info.
Step 2: Next, you will be asked a bunch of questions in order to understand the kind of content you want to remove.
Step 3: Once you submit the form, Google sends you an automatic mail for confirmation.
Step 4: The request will be evaluated based on the requirements provided in the form. If Google finds any information missing, such as URLs, it will reach out to you to gather the information.
Step 5: You will be notified by Google about the course of action.
If the URLs meet Google’s guidelines, “Either the URLs will be removed for all queries or the URLs will be removed only from search results in which the query includes the complainant’s name, or other provided identifiers, such as aliases.”
If it doesn’t meet the requirements of removal, Google will provide an explanation. But that doesn't exempt you from requesting approval again. Google states, “If your request is denied and later you have additional materials to support your case, you can re-submit your request.”
Even after the removal of content from search results, the information may continue to appear on the web. So it's possible that people may still be able to find the information on the page that hosts it through social media and other search engines.
A few months ago, Google allowed the removal of pictures of individuals under 18 from search results. The request for this can be submitted by their parent or by the individual. For this, you need to choose the option “imagery of an individual currently under the age of 18” and provide information such as image URLs and search queries that back the removal request.
Other than this, Google enables you to request the removal of non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images, including involuntary fake pornography.
At Google I/O 2022, the company introduced a new tool to make the whole process easier. With this new tool you will be able to remove phone numbers, home addresses, or email addresses right as you find them in a Google search. Essentially, you will be able to make a removal request with just a few clicks. Plus, tracking the request status is also becoming easier.
The tool will be available on the Google app in the coming months. When in action, you will be able to make removal requests by tapping the three dots next to individual Google Search results. Until that happens, the removal request process will remain the same as detailed above.
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