Google has expanded options for keeping personal information private in Internet searches.
The company announced Friday that it will allow users to request the removal of personal contact information — such as phone numbers, emails and physical addresses — from search results.
The new policy also allows for the removal of identity theft information keys, such as sensitive login credentials.
The group said in a statement that open access to information is important. “But giving people the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive and personally identifiable information private.”
“Privacy and internet security go hand in hand. And when using the Internet, it’s important to have control over how your sensitive and identifiable information can be found.”
Earlier, Google Search allowed you to request removal of very personal content that could cause direct harm. This includes information removed by doxxing and data such as bank account or credit card numbers that could be used for fraud.
But information increasingly appears in unexpected places and is used in new ways, so policies must evolve, Google said.
The fact that personal contact information is openly available online could pose a threat, and Google said it had received requests to remove it.
When you receive one of these requests, you will study all of the website’s content to avoid limiting the availability of useful information or content that may be in the public registries of government websites and other official websites.
“It is important to remember that removing content from Google Search will not remove it from the Internet, so they may wish to contact the website hosting this information directly if they feel comfortable doing so.”