Google allows you to remove your personal data from searches; see how | Launchers and search engines

Google has expanded its policy to remove content from searches. Now, users can request the removal of their personal information, such as address, phone number and e-mail, from search results. Until then, the company only removed sensitive content involving financial data, or in cases of doxxing — exposure of private data on the Internet, generally practiced against the hacker’s enmities. The new privacy policy also covers sensitive login credentials if they appear in search results.

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The requirements for removing searches change depending on the type of content. For personal data, Google considers the following information: numbers of official national identification documents, such as RG, CPF and social security, as well as photos of these documents; handwritten signature images; credit card and bank account numbers; personal records, such as medical histories; contact data such as physical addresses, emails and phone numbers; and login credentials.

Google expands policy to remove content from searches and allows users to remove personal data from searches — Photo: Unsplash

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In doxxing situations, Google provides for the removal of content that contains contact data and that has explicit or implicit threats. Or, even, that encourage other people to commit some type of violence against the victim of exposure.

The search engine analyzes cases according to the content of the online information, as well as the public interest in it. After the evaluation, Google may strip the URLs from all queries or just from searches that include the person’s name. If it deems it unfounded, the company can also deny the request. In all cases, the progress of the request is informed via email.

How to request removal of personal data from Google search

Step 1. Go to the personal information removal page (support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/9685456) and check the box “Remove information found in Google search”;

Home page for removing personal information from Google search — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 2. A second question will open below, asking where you saw the information you want to remove. Choose between “In Google search results and on a website” and “Only in Google search results”. In this example, we selected the first option;

Information on the web location where the personal information you want to remove from Google appears — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 3. If you’ve checked that you also want to delete information from a site, Google will ask if you’ve already tried contacting the site’s webmaster. Select “No, how can I do this?”, “No, I’d rather not” or “Yes”. In this tutorial, we chose the second option (“No, I prefer not to do that”);

Question about the possibility of contacting a website developer who has undesirable information — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 4. Now select the type of information you want to remove. Here, we select “Personal Information”;

Type of information you want to remove from Google search results — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 5. A new box will open with the different types of personal information. Select the one suitable for your situation. In this tutorial, we chose “Contact data such as address, phone number or email address”;

Details of the type of personal data that you want to delete from Google — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 6. Google will open the report form. In the first part, answer if the site is active and if the content is being disseminated with the intention of doxxing. Then scroll down;

Start of the complaint form for removing content from Google — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 7. Enter your full name, select your country of residence and provide an email address for Google to contact you. If you are reporting on someone else, please also provide your name and the type of relationship you have with them. It is worth remembering that it is necessary to have legal authority to act on behalf of another person, such as being legally responsible or having a legal power of attorney;

Whistleblower’s personal information for removal of Google content — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 8. Under “Removal request”, enter, in the first field, the URLs of websites that have the information you want to remove. In the second field, paste the URLs of the Google search pages where the links to websites that bring sensitive information appear. Scroll down;

Insertion of the URLs of websites and Google search pages where personal data are displayed — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 9. Google recommends including screenshots for each URL entered in the fields above. Assemble a single image with the screenshots, indicating, in each of them, where the personal information appears. To attach the image, click “+ Choose a file” and select the document. Then list the search terms that led to the result with personal information on Google and, finally, write more details about the case, if necessary;

Insertion of screenshots and search terms on Google that led to pages with confidential data — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Step 10. Finally, check the box stating that the information is true and click “Submit”.

Submission of the Google Content Removal Request Form — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

With information from Google (1, 2)

See too: how to enable and use iPhone privacy reporting

iOS 15.2: How to Enable and Use iPhone Privacy Reporting

iOS 15.2: How to Enable and Use iPhone Privacy Reporting

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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