Google Search privacy concerns prompt new policy on removing personal information to avoid doxxing, other privacy concerns


Google says it’s giving people more options for keeping personal information private from online searches.

The company said Friday it will let people request that more types of content — such as personal contact information like phone numbers, email and physical addresses — be removed from search results.

The new policy also allows the removal of other information that might pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials.

The company said open access to information is vital, “but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private.

“Privacy and online safety go hand in hand. And when you’re using the Internet, it’s important to have control over how your sensitive, personally identifiable information can be found.”

Google Search earlier had allowed people to request that highly personal content that could cause direct harm be removed. That includes information removed due to doxxing and personal details like bank account or credit card numbers that could be used for fraud.

But information increasingly pops up in unexpected places and is used in new ways, so policies need to evolve, the company said.

Having personal contact information openly available online also can pose a threat, and Google said it had received requests for the option to remove that content, too.

It said that, when it receives such requests, it will study all of the content on the web page to avoid limiting availability of useful information or of content on the public record on government or other official websites.

“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google Search won’t remove it from the Internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly,” it said.





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