Google now allows users to request that their personal contact information be removed from search results.
The search engine giant is adding new ways to remove personally identifiable information from search results, such as phone numbers and addresses.
The new policy expands on an existing one that allows people to ask for their sensitive information, like credit card numbers and bank accounts, to be removed.
As of now, you can request the deletion of any information that might compromise your privacy or put your identity at risk.
Google states in an announcement:
“Under this new policy expansion, people 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.”
The process of removing personal information from Google involves filling out a request form. In the form, you are asked to describe the type of information published, as well as answer a series of questions about why the information should be removed. Requests are analyzed according to a set of criteria outlined in the following section. Upon approval, Google will remove the URL from its search index.
Listed below are the types of information you can request to be removed from Google.
Removing Personally Identifiable Information From Google
From Google’s help document:
“Google may remove personally identifiable information (PII) that has potential to create significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud, harmful direct contact, or other specific harms. This includes doxxing, which is when your contact info is shared in a malicious way.“
You can request removal of the following types of information:
- Confidential government identification (ID) numbers like U.S. Social Security Number
- 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
Additionally, you can ask that your contact information be removed if it appears alongside a threat to your personal safety. When Google denies a request, it is only because such information appears on a page deemed useful to the general public, such as a news article. The content appearing on government websites that is part of the public record will not be removed either. A removal request must be submitted through a Google form. You will be required to provide many details in the form. Upon reviewing the request, Google will notify you of the action it decides to take. Despite being removed from Google, content will still remain on the web. If someone has the URL, they can visit it directly in a web browser or share it on social media. Google’s ability to remove content is limited to search results only.