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Google to allow search result removals for personal info

Apple Google search

Google to allow search result removals for personal info

Search giant Google has announced that it is expanding its process for appealing for search results to be removed when they include personal information about an individual.

With the expansion, people can now request for pages to be omitted from search results when they contain their contact information like an email address, phone number or address. People can also request removals when they are at risk of identity theft – for example, if login details appear in search results.

Since the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ legislation was introduced in the EU in 2014, Google has allowed people to request search listings to be censored, providing they fulfil certain criteria, such as relating to an individual’s name. In 2018, this was expanded once again with the introduction of the GDPR.

The newest expansion to include more personal information will see Google evaluate all of the content on a reported page to make sure that by removing it from its index, “broadly useful” information isn’t being limited, such as in a news article. What’s more, if the reported content is part of an official source or government site – anything considered “public record” – this won’t be removed.

Google also reminded people that while it can remove sites from its index, this doesn’t mean that content is erased from the internet itself, so it is still discoverable if people search hard enough.

This change follows a string of other privacy-centred updates the search giant has released as of late, such as its phasing out of tracking via cookies and a new policy enabling children under 18, or a parent or guardian, to request Google removes any images of them from results.

This new update serves as a reminder to businesses that they should avoid publishing people’s personal details on their sites. If you need help setting up a GDPR-compliant site for your company, we can help here at Engage Web – just give us a call.

Emily Jones

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