Some of your personal information may travel without your consent on the Internet. Phone, email address, even handwritten signature pictures or IDs … You don’t want to see this data online! If the law allowed search engines to de-reference this content, Google now offers a simpler way to do so. Here’s how to do it.
Seeing your email address, phone number, personal health information or even images of handwritten signatures or ID documents appear on a scary website. Not only is this information private, but it can also allow a malicious person, for example, to take out credit, open a phone line, or rent a car in your name, and so on.
Until now, in order to combat this disclosure of confidential data, it was necessary to go through the withdrawal procedures established by the law of June 20, 2018 on data protection, slow and tedious procedures, which could take months to complete. But since April 27, Google has allowed the public to submit simplified removal requests for certain results to their search engine.
Also read: Why You Should Really Clear Your Internet Tracks And How To Do It
“We need to give people tools to protect themselves”
Michelle Chang, head of search policy at Google, explains “Free access to information is a key goal of research, but also to provide people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive and personally identifiable information private.”. If it does not guarantee withdrawal or responsiveness, this option is simpler than that previously guaranteed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Here’s how to do it.
You can now request the removal of personal contact information, such as a phone number, email address, or physical address, as well as your login information, from Google Search. More information: https://t.co/ZTFRtWlNKz
– Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 27, 2022
First go to the search engine support page. You will then be asked if you have contacted the owner of the site in question. This is of course optional, and you can answer “no”. Then tick the “Personal information such as ID and private documents” box, then the box for the personal information visible on the website. You will then be asked for information, such as the URL of the infringing page. Just click “submit” and you’re done.
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An unreferenced page does not mean deleted
Please note that this method does not allow you to delete the location of your personal information. The latter will only be unreferenced from the Google search engine, that is, in order to access it, you will need to enter the full URL in the search bar. Or go through a search engine other than Google …
Also read: Google has been fined two million euros for abusive business practices in France
These other engines have not implemented simplification measures to remove your personal information. You must assert your right to be removed from the list, guaranteed by the GDPR. The National Commission on Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) has also launched an information page to learn more about how to exercise your right.
Also read: The European Union is trying to bring order to the Internet with a new digital law