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Google Opens up Requests to Remove Personal Info From Search

29 April 2022
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Google Opens up Requests to Remove Personal Info From Search

Google is beefing up its privacy policies after giving personal users the ability to request the removal of sensitive information such as phone numbers and home addresses from search results.

Google search global policy lead, Michelle Chang, said people are “increasingly unwilling to tolerate” the presence of personal data and that the latest changes will give them more scope to scrub unwanted information.

“Research has told us there’s a larger amount of personally identifiable information that users consider as sensitive,” Chang added.

Google previously limited data removal requests to bank account details and credit card numbers, in addition to special cases involving victims of doxing campaigns.

An updated help document lists the new types of information that can be removed by submitting a request form.

These include personal contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, as well as medical records and images of ID and handwritten signatures.

Google will still review all of the requests prior to approval, a task that is likely to become more challenging following the policy changes.

Chang revealed that Google has already handled a huge number of requests in recent years, with each one taking several days to process, while only around 13% have been approved.

The clampdown is designed to protect user’s privacy but Chang said it was important that Google still makes certain data available for the public interest.

And while the information that has been removed won’t be surfaced in search results, it will still exist on the web and be accessible via the direct URL.

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