Google now lets you request removal of personal contact information from search results – TechCrunch

Google announcement this week it expands the types of personal information that users can request to be removed from search results. As part of the new policy expansion, people can request deletion personal contact information, such as a phone number, email address, or physical address. Prior to this expansion, the policy mainly covered information that would allow others to steal your identity or money, such as bank and credit card details.

The expanded policy now also allows users to request removal of additional information from search results that may pose a risk of impersonation, such as confidential login credentials.

“The availability of personal contact information online can be shocking – and it can be used in harmful ways, including for unwanted direct contact or even physical harm,” said Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy manager for research, in blog post. “And people have given us feedback that they would like to be able to remove that kind of information from search in some cases.”

Google says that when it receives a removal request, it will assess all content on the web page to ensure that it does not limit the availability of other “broadly useful” information, such as in news articles. The company will also assess whether it is part of the public record on government websites or official sources, as it will not perform deletion in these cases. For example, politicians’ phone numbers will not be removed, as they are publicly available on government websites.

As part of the removal process, you must submit all web and image URLs that you want Google to consider for removal. For Google to consider content to be removed, it must include your contact information and there must be the presence of “express or implied threats” or “express or implied calls to action to harm or harass others”. .

Once you submit a deletion request, you will receive an automated confirmation email. Google will then review your request and may request additional information in some cases if the request does not contain enough information for the company to assess. If the submitted URLs are found to be in scope of Google’s policy, the company will take action. If the request does not meet Google’s deletion requirements, the company will provide you with a brief explanation of why your request was denied.

Google notes that even though it removes the content from search results, the information may still exist on the web, which means people can still find the information on the page that hosts it, through social media and other search engines.

The policy expansion comes months after Google began allowing people under the age of 18 or their parents to request their photos be removed from search results. To do so, users must specify that they want Google to remove “imagery of an individual currently under the age of 18” and provide personal information, image URLs, and search queries that would bring up the images. results.

Google also allows you to submit requests to remove non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images from Google, as well as unintentional fake pornography.

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