The change comes as concerns grow about the relationship between online privacy and real-life security. This month, Kiwi Farms forum stalker was Withdrawal Having spent years harassing women and those identified as LGBTQ, forum members often post their physical addresses and phone numbers. Victims of domestic violence are also in danger When their personal information appears online. Some jurisdictions, including the European Union, have adopted the “right to be forgotten,” which gives people the right to request that their personal information be deleted from company databases or the Internet, but the United States has not adopted such a law.
In addition to requesting the removal of search results, starting early next year, people can sign up for alerts if their personal information appears in new results, Google says.
“While removing these results does not remove your contact information from the web at large, we do our best to protect your information on Google Search,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s public contact for search, said in a statement.
Here’s how to request the removal of a result: In the Google app or Chrome browser, click or tap the three dots next to the search result. A window titled “About this result” should appear. Scroll to the bottom and select the Remove Result button. After you fill out the removal form, it will take a few days for your request to be processed, Google says. You can check the status by clicking on your profile icon in the upper right corner and selecting “Results about you”.
Alejandra Carabalo, a Harvard Law School instructor at the Cyberlaw Clinic, said mass data collection by companies and the government has made it difficult for targets of harassment or abuse to keep their personal information off the Internet. Even if people remove their personal information from search results, it is likely still available for purchase from data brokers, companies that collect and sell massive amounts of personal data.
“this is [Google tool] It’s still kind of in the early stages, and it remains to be seen how effective it is,” Carabalo said. “A lot of this information is still available through data brokers, and this kind of free sharing of people’s personal information in bulk is something that needs to be considered by regulators. the feds.”
Clearing your information from data broker websites requires either time to send dozens of data deletion requests or money to pay a third-party service like DeleteMe to do it for you. While Google’s new tool won’t solve online stalking, it does give people a valuable free tool, said Nina Jankovic, vice president of the Anti-Disinformation Center for Information Resilience.
Not all anti-harassment advocates celebrate the tool’s design. Coraline Ihmke, an open source software developer, questioned Google’s approach. She wondered why the burden of protecting against online harassment almost always falls on individuals. How will Google determine the validity of removal requests? And why do users have to sign in to a Google account to use Results For You? Given Google’s sprawling advertising business, Ehmke said she’ll think twice before handing over more of her personal information to file a takedown request.
“What do we have to subscribe to in order to unsubscribe?” She said. “I feel like privacy after the fact.”
“Results for you” [The feature] It uses both technological improvements as well as human review to prevent abuse of the removal process,” Google spokesperson Ned Adrians said. He noted that Google will not share and will not use the information users provided in the removal request to “customize your experience.”
The new tool won’t delete your phone number and address from the internet, but it’s a step in the right direction for privacy, according to Jankowicz.
“In the information environment we are in, it is imperative that we all be a bit proactive in managing our online presence,” she said. “It’s great that Google put this in place, especially for people who are frequent victims of abuse, harassment or stalking.”
If the tool does not appear for you yet or if you are trying to remove other types of information such as financial information or medical records, go to this Google Form. You can also ask Google to remove scandalous photos that are fake, posted without your consent, or appear next to your name without reason.
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