It’s nearly impossible to take something down once it’s on the internet. However, Google has made it easy for anyone to request that their personal information be removed from Google’s search results.
Google has been vocal in its opposition to a global “right to be forgotten,” a provision of European legislation that permits EU citizens to request that corporations, including internet giants, delete personal data about them. However, this hasn’t stopped Google from providing customers with options to limit the amount of data it collects as a company, as well as methods to request that their photographs be removed from Google’s image search results.
Using its new search results removal request feature, you can now ask Google to remove personally identifiable information about yourself (or someone you represent) from its search results, such as a phone number, email address, or home address, as well as other sensitive information that could be used to break into your online accounts, such as login credentials. This, according to Google, can assist victims of doxxing, which occurs when personal information about a person is released online without their consent, frequently with malevolent intent.
To have your search results removed, first make a list of what Google requires in order to fulfill your request. Google says which types of personal information it will erase, including confidential government ID numbers, bank account numbers, photographs of ID papers, and contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses.
When you’re ready, go to Google’s search results removal form and select “Remove information from Google Search,” then select “Remove information from Google Search and from a website.” If you wish to contact the website host at this point, Google will guide you, but if you don’t, you can simply say “No, I don’t want to contact the website host” and continue with the form.
Google should now ask you which search results you want to be eliminated. Select personal information, such as ID numbers and private documents, and then choose the type of personal information you want to be erased, such as your contact information, private medical records, or other government identity documents. From here, fill out the form with your relevant information, such as your complete name, country of residence, best contact email address, and a list of your personal information websites. The web addresses of infringing search results can be found in the address bar of your browser.
The final question on this form is whether your personal information is being shared with harmful, threatening, or harassing intent, which Google defines as “sharing with malicious, threatening, or harassing intent.” Select “Yes” if this is the case.
You must mention all of the web addresses from which you obtained your information. That can refer to both the webpage that contains your information and the Google search results page’s web address. To help Google narrow down the request to you, you may need to take and upload screenshots of search results. At any given time, you can submit up to 1,000 web addresses.
Check the signature form at the bottom of the form after you’re finished.
It’s important to remember that removing your information from Google’s search results isn’t a cure-all. Although Google’s request feature does not automatically erase your personal information from the websites where it is stored, it does make it more difficult for others to find the information without using Google’s search algorithm.
Filling out the Google search removal form does not guarantee that Google will act on your behalf. “All content on the web page will be evaluated to ensure that we’re not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful, such as in news articles,” Google stated. Google has stated that it will not erase search results if your information appears in a public record, such as a court filing or a government website.