Google now lets you request removal of more personally identifiable infromation from Search
Google has offered users an option to request the removal of personally identifiable information from Search for many years. Until now, this option let users request Google to remove personally identifiable information in cases of doxxing or financial fraud. But Google is now updating its policy to include other sensitive information, like personal contact information and confidential log-in credentials.
In a blog post on the matter, Google says that as part of this new policy expansion, 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.”
According to a Google support page, the company will consider now consider removal requests for the following types of information:
- 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
In cases of doxxing, content removal requests should 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.
To request the removal of your personal information, you can head over to this page and fill up the application. After you submit your request, Google will send out an automated email confirmation and then review your request based on the requirements mentioned above. In some cases, where the initial request does not have a sufficient amount of information, Google may also ask you for more information and provide specific instructions to resubmit the application.
After evaluating your request, Google will send out a notification if it takes any action. The company notes 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.” However, if your request doesn’t meet the requirements for removal, Google will offer a brief explanation. If your request is denied, you will still have the option to submit a new request with additional materials to support your case.
The policy update comes just weeks after Google rolled out the option to help users delete the last 15 minutes of their search history on Android. You can learn more about this feature by heading over to our original coverage.