(KTLA) – Google is giving users a new option for removing their personal information from search results. In a Wednesday blog post, the company confirmed it had updated its policies concerning the removal of personal content in response to the continuously “evolving” internet.
Open access to information is the key goal of the search, Google acknowledged, but not when it can cause potential harm, the company said.
“The availability of personal contact information online can be jarring — and it can be used in harmful ways, including for unwanted direct contact or even physical harm,” Google wrote. “And people have given us feedback that they would like the ability to remove this type of information from Search in some cases.”
Under the new policy, users can request to have their phone number, email address, or physical address removed from search results. This can be especially important when the information is intentionally shared by a third party with malicious intent, otherwise known as doxxing.
Google notes, however, that it can only remove this personal content from its search results, and not the entirety of the internet. Those who want their personal information removed from a certain platform or website will still need to contact that hosting service directly.
Also, Google said it will not remove information that comes from public records, including government or official sources.
Google had previously allowed users to request the removal of other types of sensitive information from search, including banking information or Social Security numbers. With this latest update, Google hopes to give users more of “the tools they need to protect their safety and privacy online,” according to the blog post.
Users can file a removal request for Google to evaluate at its support site.