When someone searches for some information about you, Google might so not only general information but also personal information. Of course, you could request Google to remove it. But until now, Google would proceed with your request only in cases of doxxing or financial fraud. Recently, Google published a blog post stating that it is updating its policy. So from now on, you can request Google to remove personal information appearing on search results if it looks sensitive to you.
In the blog post, we can read that “users can now request removals of additional types of information when they find it in Search results, including personal contact information like a phone number, email address, or physical address. The policy also allows for the removal of additional information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials, when it appears in Search results.”
So what kind of information could be taken into consideration when requesting 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
As a reference, prior to this, in cases of doxxing, you could request information removal if they meet the following requirements:
- Your contact info is present.
- There’s the presence of:
- Explicit or implicit threats, or
- Explicit or implicit calls to action for others to harm or harass.
Well, if you have found some sensitive information about you that appears in Google search results, you can request the removal of your personal information. For this, you have to visit the page and fill up the application.
Once submitted, you will get an automated email confirmation and then review your request based on the requirements mentioned above. However, you should take into consideration that in some cases Google might request more information if the initial request does not have a sufficient amount of information.
Google says that if the submitted URLs are “found to be within the scope of our policy, 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 your request doesn’t meet the requirements for removal, the company will provide a detailed explanation.