Friday, June 3, 2022

Removing Personally Identifiable Info From Google Searches

Brian Krebs (Hacker News):

Google said this week it is expanding the types of data people can ask to have removed from search results, to include personal contact information like your phone number, email address or physical address. The move comes just months after Google rolled out a new policy enabling people under the age of 18 (or a parent/guardian) to request removal of their images from Google search results.


While Google’s removal of a search result from its index will do nothing to remove the offending content from the site that is hosting it, getting a link decoupled from Google search results is going to make the content at that link far less visible. According to recent estimates, Google enjoys somewhere near 90 percent market share in search engine usage.


It took me about 10 minutes to figure out that the link provided from the Google article really just leads to a workflow where i have to answer just the right questions to get to the actual form. And, then go through a second workflow, which puts you to... the first workflow.

I have yet to reach a page where I can submit the URLs to be removed. I consider myself a neophyte technologist, since I just started a few decades ago with punch cards. I doubt most of the general public will figure out how to perform this process.

Danny Sullivan:

This is the page that explains in more detail and where people should begin the removal process.

The removal process will lead you to a troubleshooter. That’s designed to help people more quickly get things resolved. For example, if a web page no longer exists on the web, or the site owner removed info, there are faster options you can use rather than going down the formal removal request option.

But let’s say you want something removed that has PII from a page that’s live on the web and where you for whatever reason don’t want to contact the site owner. The troubleshooter from that page I mentioned will lead you here.

Say No to contacting the site owner, select Personal Info from the next option, pick the type of info and you’ll get to the form (such as here if it involves contact info).


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Only WaitWaitWha is correct. Everything else is false.

I had my home address posted on the internet recently (and not by me). It quickly spread around to mirror sites. I contacted each one and asked them to remove the information. In every case, the information was promptly removed. In every case except Google.

At this point, Google is still serving up my personal information in its cached pages and in its search results. I've contacted Google numerous times and each time, they refuse to remove my information. I've provided the URLs, screenshots, explanations. Reject. Reject. Reject.

There are numerous posts on the Google support forums about this problem. In every case, the thread is locked. There are many comments on Brian Krebs blog post, but comments are closed. Danny Sullivan's Google and Personal Twitter accounts do not allow direct messages. Danny Sullivan used to have a contact form on his web page but he disabled that, blaming "K-pop fans". Yeah, right. Google is a vile, dishonest company. Google is the problem.

Leave a Comment