In a new move, Google will now allow you to submit a request that will help you remove personally identifiable information (PII) from Google search results.
The option to remove your personal information from Google search results, however, has been available for years. But, in a new update, there are additional choices.
Google has announced on the official Google search blog that they have launched new options to remove this information.
This is actually more of a “policy expansion” rather than entirely new additions.
Google explained that the new policy expansion provides people with the ability to “now request removals of additional types of information when they find it in Search results, including personal contact information like a phone number, email address, or physical address. 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.”
What Are the Requirements to Remove Personal Information?
Google, however, does have some requirements when it comes to removing your personal information.
For them to consider removing it, they said it must pertain to the following types of information:
- Confidential government identification (ID) numbers like U.S. Social Security Number,
- Argentine Single Tax Identification Number, Brazil Cadastro de pessoas Físicas, Korea
- Resident Registration Number, China Resident Identity Card, etc.
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Images of handwritten signatures
- Images of ID docs
- Highly personal, restricted, and official records, like medical records
- Personal contact info (physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses)
- Confidential login credentials
What Are the Requirements for Doxxing Content?
They have some additional information for doxxing content as well. Doxxing content is content that is shared with the explicit intent to cause malicious harm to you or your reputation.
Google explained that for them to consider doxxing content for removal, it has to meet the following criteria:
- Your contact info is present.
- There’s the presence of:
- Explicit or implicit threats, or
- Explicit or implicit calls to action for others to harm or harass.
Where To Go to Remove Your Public Information
You can find the form to remove your personal information here.
What Happens After Your Public Information Removal Request is Submitted?
Google also explained the following process is what happens after you submit your request:
- You get an automated email confirmation. This confirms we received the request.
- We review your request. Each request is evaluated on factors including the requirements above.
- We gather more info, if needed. In some cases, we may ask you for more information. If the request doesn’t have enough information for us to evaluate, like missing URLs, we’ll share specific instructions and ask you to resubmit the request.
- You get a notification of any action taken.
If the submitted URLs are found to be within the scope of our policy, either the URLs will be removed for all queries or the URLs will be removed only from search results in which the query includes the complainant’s name, or other provided identifiers, such as aliases.
If the request doesn’t meet the requirements for removal, we’ll also include a brief explanation. If your request is denied and later you have additional materials to support your case, you can re-submit your request.
Important: Removing Personal Information from Google Search Does Not Remove it From the Web Entirely
While this information will be removed from Google, it’s not going to be removed from the web entirely.
That’s why it’s important to enlist the services of a qualified SEO professional who specializes in reputation management to help you remove this information from other sites.
They will have methods in place to remove your personal information from other websites.
Why It’s Dangerous to Have Your Personal Information Everywhere
For those who are not aware, having your personally identifiable information available publicly can expose you to malicious threats including:
- People who wish to do you harm,
- People who wish to do your business harm,
- Malicious bots,
- Malicious hackers,
- Any number of malicious identity theft scams,
- And more.
Google has some more detailed documentation about this process over here.