Remove Personal Information from Google Search Results

You can choose among different options to remove personal information from Google Search Results, depending on what you find, where you find it and why you want to remove it. In fact, it often happens that you may find on Google Search some negative content about you that has no reason to be published or to stay online. What’s important to know is that whenever a user asks for personal information removal, the URL will be only removed from Google Search Result: this is why you may wish to contact the site’s webmaster to completely remove the personal content.

What type of Personal Information can I ask Google to remove?

Even without asking the website owner to remove the content from his site, Google will automatically remove some specific type of personal information. It deals with every content which could crea significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud or other common online harms. That’s why some specific removals are automatically available even without the webmaster’s intervention, according to some requirements presented on the Google Search Help Guide. The personal information types that are involved in these automatic removal actions are non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images, involuntary fake pornography, financial/medical/national ID information, doxxing content, images of minors and every other type og content with an intent to harm or connected to legal reasons.

Removal requests for Privacy reasons

In addition to all those types of personal information presented before, you can ask Google for other personal information relating to you to be removed for privacy reasons. In practise, you can use this form to ask Google to remove a Google Search result for queries that include your name, in accordance to the EU privacy laws and to the right to be forgotten. If these results damage your online reputation or your general privacy, you can ask them to be removed. Actually, when you make this type of request for privacy reasons, Google will balance your privacy rights with the interest of the general public in having access to information and with the publishers’ right to publish their content and to express themselves. For example, all those removal requests that involve some public people and deal with recent events concerning all the society will rarely be removed.

The impact of de-listing on the access to online news

Whenever a removal request is accepted, the search engine has the duty of de-listing the personal photo, data, information (or every other personal content), that is deleting the link from the indexes of the search engine. In practice, this doesn’t mean that the personal content is completely eliminated from the internet, but it will only be invisible among the search engine results after a search made on the basis of a person’s name. With all the other search terms, the personal content will still be available on the search engine, as well as by direct access to the original site. In fact, Google (as any other search engine) isn’t responsible for the particular content published by the various sources, it doesn’t act as a controller. If the user wants to remove a personal news article from a certain site, he has to directly contact the site’s webmaster.