Everyone has a digital trail of personal information behind them, whether they like it or not. We’re all guilty of embarrassing moments from the past, and having such information online can be highly damaging – especially if it falls into the wrong hands. The good news is that Google has just released new ways to remove such information from Google Search results.
Search engine giant confirms deleting personal info
After giving users the right to request for removal of minors’ photographs from Google Search last October, the search engine giant has been working to change its policies to make Google’s Search results a safer place for people worldwide.
Google has confirmed an extension of the list of personal data that it intends to delete from Search results, including non-consensual explicit or intimate personal photographs, deepfake porn, and links to sites that engage in exploitative removal practices.
Google is introducing these additional alternatives because the internet is continually developing, and having key details about people on the search engine might be rather dangerous.
List of data Google claims to erase:
- Physical addresses
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card info
- Photos of handwritten signatures
- Photos of identity documents
- Confidential login credentials
- Medical records
- Confidential government identity (ID)
How to delete your personal information
If you find your email, phone number, address, or login credentials in Search results, use the link to Google’s official removal request form to get your personal information deleted from the Search results page.
“If we can verify that such links contain personally identifiable information, there is no other content on the web page that may be of public interest, and we receive a request to remove those URLs, we will do so, assuming they meet our requirements outlined in the help page; whether or not the information is behind a paywall,” Google spokesperson Ned Adriance said about the new policy’s implications.
It’s great to see Google taking a proactive approach to privacy and making it easier for users to ensure that their personal information is removed from Google Search results. It gives users more control over the personal data available in their digital footprint. However, it’s too early to say whether this will be a big success or not, but at the very least, it’s an interesting step in the right direction. It should be interesting to see how this affects other search engines.