Google To Remove Personal Contact Information From Search Engine
Google is now accepting requests from individuals who want their personal contact information from their search engine.
The search engine company says they will remove more personal contact information such as addresses, phone numbers, and emails from their search results amid an increase in online fraud. Global Policy Lead for Search Michelle Chang said in a statement on the company’s website that the change was necessary as the internet continues to evolve. Previously, Google only accepted requests to have social security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers, and medical records to be removed from its search engine.
“The internet is always evolving – with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways — so our policies and protections need to evolve, too. Open access to information is a key goal of Search, but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private. That’s why we’re updating our policies to help people take more control of their online presence in Search.”
Chang’s blog post also stated that individuals were able to remove certain types of personal information but due to Google’s new policy, they are now able to remove their emails, home addresses, etc. The company acknowledged that this type of information can lead to fraud or even some cases where an individual can be stalked based on the information presented on the internet.
“The policy also allows for the removal of additional information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials, when it appears in Search results. The availability of personal contact information online can be jarring — and it can be used in harmful ways, including for unwanted direct contact or even physical harm.”
The process on how to have your personal information removed from the search engine
A page on Google’s website will direct you to fill out a request form that will ask you to provide the websites that are displaying any personal information. Google responds with an automated reply and will let you know if it will take action against removing the site address or other factors. However, Google will review all requests and specified that personal information can be scrubbed off of their search engine but not third-party websites.
In order to have your personal information removed from third-party websites, you will have to directly contact the website host to have your personal information removed.
“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google Search won’t remove it from the internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly if you’re comfortable doing so.”
According to CBS News, the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that consumers lost $5.8 billion to multiple online scams which include romance scams where the fraudster asks for personal information such as bank accounts or credit card information. This also includes unsolicited telephone calls and identity theft.