Google Says It Will Remove Search Results That Dox You


Google is allowing individuals to request the removal of more personally identifiable information from search results.

The search giant already lets people request that it take down results with content that can lead to identity theft or fraud, like credit card numbers and bank account details. Now that list has been expanded to include contact information, including your email address, telephone number and physical address. 

“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,” Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy lead for search, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. 

Google will now also remove search results with details that pose a risk for hacking, like login IDs and passwords.

The removal of these results isn’t automatic. Individuals must file a request, which includes listing URLs that link to the sensitive information and search pages that surface those links. Google will then determine if taking them down is limiting access to info already in the public record or part of something that is “broadly useful,” like a news article.

“In such cases, we won’t make removals,” Chang said. 

Depending on the content and context, Google may remove the links from all search results or just results that include your name.

Even if the company agrees to remove your information from search results, Chang added, it’s not the same as removing it from the internet. Someone could still go directly to the site to find your information.

The new guidelines follow an October 2021 policy update allowing minors — or their parents — to request the removal of their images from Google Search results.

Read More: Your Digital Footprint Is Bigger Than You Think 


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