Google has just started accepting requests to remove personal information such as phone numbers and physical and email addresses from search results.
The Mountain View digital advertising and internet search giant said in a recent blog post that it has expanded the scope of data people can request to be removed because “with information appearing in unexpected places and used in new ways…our policies and protections need to evolve.
Previously, to consider removing phone numbers and addresses, Google required a person to show that this information was revealed alongside a threat or call for the person to be harmed or harassed.
To request removal of information, users must use Google’s online form to submit URLs (web page addresses) displaying the content, and the company also requests a search results URL indicating the link to the content. , as well as screenshots of the content, to facilitate the processing of the request.
“The availability of personal contact information online can be shocking – and it can be used in harmful ways, including for unwanted direct contact or even physical harm,” said Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy manager for research, in the blog post.
The company will deny requests if its review determines that removal of the page would limit the availability of other newsworthy or otherwise “broadly useful” information to the public, or if the information appears in public records on government websites. or official, Google said. .
Company policies also permit the removal from search results of information such as medical records and confidential data that could be used for identity theft or financial crimes, such as login credentials, security numbers social security, bank account and credit card numbers, and images of signatures and IDs.
The removal of personal information will be done by ensuring that the web page containing it does not appear in search results, Google said. In some cases, particularly where the information at issue is data such as bank account and credit card numbers, the page will be removed from any search results, while in other cases the page will not appear. not in search results containing the person’s name or other identifier.
“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google search won’t remove it from the internet, so you can contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so,” warned Google in an explainer.