Google, for decades, has been the king of internet search engines. With a 92% market share, it averages over 5.6 billion searches a day, with the average person searching Google three to four times a day.
Over the years, a lot of your personal information has been accumulating on the internet. Once there, it's almost impossible to take it down. And it's all accessible via Google search. Looking to regain a little privacy? You can now ask Google to remove your personal data from its search results—here's how.
New removal form
Google now makes it easier with its new search results removal request feature, you can ask Google to remove personally identifiable information about yourself (or someone you represent) from its search results, such as:
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Your home address
You can also chose to remove other sensitive information that could be used to break into your online accounts, like login credentials. Google claims this can help victims of doxxing, where information about a person is published online without their consent, often with malicious intent.
What Google will need from you
In order for you to complete the form, and for Google to process your request, it will need to select the information you want removed needs to fit into one of these categories:
- Government ID identification numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Images of ID documents
- Medical records
- Contact and login information (phone numbers and email addresses)
If Google finds a website that's hosting this sort of information, they won't take down the website, but they'll remove it from search results. They will NOT remove “public record” entries, like those on a news outlet or government agency website.
Tip: You'll need to give Google the exact URLs of the sites that your information appears on—they won't do the search for you.
Continue by selecting from these options:
- Remove information you see in Google Search
- In Google's search results and on a website
- No, I prefer not to.
Then, complete the form with your full name, country of residence, your email address and the list of web addresses of your personal information. You'll also need to give the exact URLs of the websites that your information appears on, a link to the Google search that you can use to find your information, and screenshots of the information everywhere that it appears.
When you complete your entries, check off the box that asks for your electronic signature, and then click Submit.
Over the next few days, Google will review the request and ask you for more information if they need it. Eventually, you'll get an email explaining either what Google did.
Keep in mind that removing your information from Google's search results is not a cure-all. Google's request feature cannot remove your personal data from the internet entirely, but it makes it more difficult for others to discover the data without the aid of Google's search algorithm.
For more information on cyber security measures you can take, visit Tower's Financial Know How page.
Resources: TechCrunch, Business Insider, CNBC
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