If you want to remove personal information from Google, it is possible. You might be surprised to learn this, but this has been in place since May 2014.
At that moment, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg issued “the right to be forgotten”. Still, in the U.S., the legislation is different. But U.S. citizens also have the right to ask Google to remove some of the information concerning them. In this article, we present you the steps to take, if you need to do this.
How did the right to remove personal information from Google occur?
This right was not in place, until 2014, when a Spanish user asked Google to delete any links and/or articles about him, from its search results. The reason was that a newspaper article about that claimant had been out of date. Also, he considered that it was damaging to his reputation.
As the Court ruled that he was right, Google had to comply with the decision and removed the links. Moreover, the right to be forgotten became part of the European General Data Protection Regulation. According to this, users have the right to erase their data from the internet. Here, the law includes sensitive, personal, incorrect, excessive, outdated, or irrelevant information, to prevent further dissemination.
But this is the rule in Europe, whereas, in the U.S., things are different. Here, the regulations only apply to individuals. Also, Google is not forced to comply with any deletion request, especially In the case of public figures (politicians, celebrities, etc.). Here, society’s interest in information would be more important.
Still, individuals can ask the search giant to remove phone numbers, emails, or physical addresses. The law also includes handwritten signatures, intimate, non-consensual images, or images of minors. Fake or irrelevant pornography, exploitive content, or doxxing.
Step-by-step guide for deleting personal information from Google
Here are the steps for a user whose requests fall under the right to be forgotten, according to the above-mentioned rules:
- Open the Google personal data removal form.
- Fill in the form with your: country of residence, name, and email address. You can also submit it on behalf of another person if you specify the legal relationship.
- Insert the URLs (website addresses) you ask to remove from search results and the reason(/s) for each of them.
- Enter the name under which you or the person you act for is found in Google.
- Agree to the data processing for the request, and confirm that you provided the correct information.
- Enter the current date and name, and submit it.
There are also other forms available when a user wants Google to remove personal information from its search results. Each of them serves different reasons:
- Non-consensual pornography. You can also read more about the dangers of pornography.
- Doxxing content.
- Exploitative removal practices.
- Photos of minors.
You can find all the available forms, here.
How it works
But remember that removing personal data from the search results means that only the links that appear in the search results will disappear. Still, the content will be available on the websites that published it.
So, if you want the information to be deleted from the website, you should submit a request directly to them. Once they accept your request, the search engine search results will update accordingly. At the same time, you should submit the form with Google, to remove outdated content.
Also, remember that Google is not the only search engine. Remember to submit a request to others as well. Bing also provides a form for deletion requests. You can find the Bing form, here.
As you cannot remove the links from the search results yourself, you would have to wait for Google to review your request. So, it would be easier to ask this directly from the websites.
Now, you know you have a way to remove personal information from Google. Although it might not seem easy, it is the only way to do it.