You Can Now Ask Google to Remove Personal Info From Searches

But that won't remove the information at its source

Google is taking a more active role in stopping the spread of sensitive and personal information by allowing you to request its removal from searches.

The new policy applies to what Google refers to as personally identifiable information (PII), such as details that could be used for identity theft or more direct harm. Info like bank account or credit card numbers, medical records, personal contact details, social security numbers, and so on. Whether or not it acts on these requests is discretionary, however.

Google corporate logo at the Google Germany offices

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If you believe there's sensitive information about you posted online somewhere, you can start a removal request that includes links to and explanations of the offending items. In the event of doxxing (malicious sharing of your personal contact details), Google has to determine that there are explicit or implicit threats or calls to action to harass in order to act. If it's decided that the linked information doesn't qualify (Google has not divulged its methods for verifying these details), no action will be taken.

Woman spied on by cctv camera

Tetra Images / Getty Images

Should Google decide that the links do qualify for removal, it will take steps to prevent the information from appearing in future Google searches. This can include searches for your name, general searches that might turn up your details for some other reason, or both. Though it's important to note that Google will only remove these details as search results—actually, removing the information will have to be handled by the hosting websites.

You can begin submitting links to web pages and images that you believe include your personal information to Google now. Be ready to provide links to the source, a link to the Google search results, and a screenshot of the sensitive information as it appears on the web page.

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