You can now ask Google to remove your personal contact information, such as your physical and email addresses, as well as your phone number, from Search. The tech giant already takes request for the removal of identifiable info in cases of doxxing or if the details posted in public could be used for financial fraud. It’s now expanding that policy to cover the aforementioned details, along with confidential log-in credentials and images of ID documents that can be used for identity theft.
According to The Verge, Google still has a process to deal with malicious doxxing, wherein an employee will look at links to determine how they’d cause harm. Under this expanded policy, though, the company can grant requests if the content you want to be removed from search doesn’t have any public interest value or isn’t “relevant to a news report.”
As the publication notes, it’s also different from the system Google implemented in the EU to comply with the region’s right to be forgotten law. The rules under the law allow you to ask for content removal if it’s irrelevant, inaccurate or unflattering — this policy expansion only covers sensitive information. A spokesperson told The Verge that Google will de-index content whether it’s behind a paywall or not, so long as the request meets its requirements.
In the company’s announcement post, Google Global Policy Lead for Search Michelle Chang reminds people that the removal of content from Search doesn’t mean it’s gone from the internet. Chang encourages contacting website hosts if you want your information scrubbed completely.