In the digital age, our personal information is more accessible than ever. Search engines, while incredibly useful, can sometimes make us vulnerable by displaying personal data that we’d prefer to keep private. Recognizing this, Google has introduced a free service to help individuals remove personally identifiable information (PII) or doxxing content from its search results.
What Information Can Be Removed?
Google’s new service allows you to request the removal of the following types of PII:
- Confidential government identification numbers (e.g., Social Security Numbers, Resident Identity Cards).
- Bank account and credit card numbers.
- Images of handwritten signatures and ID documents.
- Highly personal, restricted, and official records, like medical records.
- Personal contact information (addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses).
- Confidential login credentials.
Google may consider removing professional contact information if shared in a doxxing context.
How to Submit a Removal Request
To initiate a removal request, follow these steps:
- Start the Removal Process [Click here]: You or an authorized representative can submit a request to Google. This person must prove their authority to act on your behalf.
- Provide Necessary Details: During the submission, you’ll need to provide specific URLs that you want to be reviewed. Google only evaluates the URLs submitted in the form.
- Submit the Request: Once you have filled in all the required information, you can submit your request for review.
After the Removal Request is Submitted
Here’s what to expect after you’ve submitted your request:
- Email Confirmation: You’ll receive an automated email confirming that Google has received your request.
- Evaluation by Google: Each request is reviewed individually. Google assesses them based on the provided criteria and the public interest element.
- Further Information Requests: If your initial request lacks the details, Google will ask for more information.
- Notification of Action: You’ll be informed of the action taken. If Google agrees that the URLs fall under its policies, they will be removed for all queries or precisely when the question includes your name or other identifiers. If your request is denied, you’ll receive an explanation and can resubmit with additional information if possible.
Things to Keep in Mind
Removing information from Google does not erase it from the internet; it only removes it from search results. The actual webpage with your information will still exist and might be accessible through the site directly or other search engines. For a more comprehensive solution, you should contact the website owner or webmaster of the page and request that they remove the content.
Your online privacy is paramount, and controlling your personal information is a critical part of maintaining that privacy. Google’s new removal service provides a pathway to help manage your digital footprint and protect your personal information from unwanted exposure. Take advantage of this service if you find your data displayed on Google Search results in a manner that could compromise your privacy.
Need help? Contact Sympler for assistance today!