The permanence of the internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can find and reference events that took place years ago; on the other, any uploaded personal information is unlikely to vanish forever, whether or not it could compromise your data or include damaging results that can harm your personal or professional standing. So limiting the visibility of such content is crucial — that’s where Google Search’s personal info removal request policy comes in. It’s been in place for years, and now, the company’s expanding what content you can ask to be taken down as part of a policy update.
For years, you could request the removal of personally identifiable information from Search, such as bank account or credit card numbers that could be used for financial fraud, national identification numbers (like the U.S. Social Security Number), signature images, confidential medical records, or even doxxing cases, where a third party publishes your info with malicious intent. With the new policy expansion, Google announced that you’ll now be able to request the removal of personal contact information (like phone numbers, email, or physical addresses), ID doc images, and personal login credentials when they appear in search results.
Google has a complete guide on removing personally identifiable info (PII) or doxxing content from Search. But the idea is that your request will be honored if it meets the listed requirements and the submitted URLs are covered by the company’s policy. However, you may be denied even if you meet the requirements, such as if the source page is a news article with broadly useful information or is a government or official site with public records.
That said, removing a Google Search result doesn’t erase the info from the web — you may need to contact the hosting site directly for that. But it helps for the most popular search engine to delist such data — remember that people will still be able to find the original info if they go digging. There’s no such thing as being too careful. So, take advantage of some of Google’s other features to manage your “My Activity” data or delete the last 15 minutes of search history.
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