The internet has become an indispensable tool in our daily lives – a way to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues across great distances and through life changes.
However, this incredible opportunity is sometimes a risk. Something that we share with a certain person or group at a certain point in time can end up being seen by millions, even years later or in a completely different context. As soon as we post something on the internet, we give up some control over who sees it.
There are certain things that we probably never want to be fully public or searchable in seconds, such as: B. our home address or telephone number.
In 2022, Google made it easier to keep those details out of the public domain by allowing you to remove them from search results. In a blog post, Google explains:
“For many years, people have been able to request removal of certain sensitive, personally identifiable information from searches — for example, in cases of doxxing or information like bank account or credit card numbers that could be used for financial fraud.
As part of this new policy enhancement, users can now request the removal of additional types of information when they find it in search results, including personal contact information such as phone number, email address, or mailing address. The policy also allows for the removal of additional information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as: B. Sensitive credentials when they appear in search results.”
In addition to these types of information, you may also have removed:
- your social security number
- bank account numbers
- credit card numbers
- Pictures of your handwritten signature
- Images of ID documents
- Medical records and other official private documents
- Logins and Passwords
To ask Google or learn more about the process, visit the removal requests page. Fill out their simple form with a link to the webpage displaying your personal information, a link to Google search results connecting users to your personal information, and screenshots indicating the content you want removed.
The process is not automatic; Google says it reviews and scores every request to see if removal makes sense. And even if Google removes it from search results, that’s not the same as removing it from the web — some people might still find it through social media with someone else who has the link, for example.