Google starts removing users’ personal, contact data from search results

Google (GOOGL.O) of Alphabet Inc. has begun to consider requests to remove search results containing people’s home addresses, phone numbers, and email accounts, marking the latest shift in the company’s attitude on personal privacy and information access.

The world’s most popular internet search engine announced on Wednesday that it was expanding its removal procedures globally in response to increased user demand and developing standards about the dangers of easy access to contact information.

In an exclusive interview, Michelle Chang, global policy lead for Google search, stated, “Research has informed us there’s a bigger quantity of personally identifiable information that consumers see as sensitive.” “They are becoming increasingly unwilling to put up with this type of online garbage.”

Until this, Google would only accept requests to remove webpages that included contact information as well as a threat or money. It also has linkages to medical information and bank account and credit card numbers that have been removed.

In recent years, it has received tens of thousands of requests per year, with roughly 13% of them being approved. Chang predicted that the approval rate would rise as a result of the new guidelines, which include the ability to remove links to confidential log-in credentials.

Earlier Google policy allowed users to request the removal of results that directed to objectionable pornography and, in Europe, “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive” personal data. Last year, Google began allowing minors’ photos to be removed.

Google would try to safeguard data availability in the public interest while assessing requests under the contact information policy, according to Chang. It also won’t take down content that “appears to be part of the public record on government or official sources’ websites.”

According to the company, requests are typically processed within a few days.

Webpages Users are encouraged to contact publishers to solve “the root of the issue,” according to Chang. Google drops can still be accessible through other search engines or directly.

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