Google on Friday, April 29, said it is expanding options to keep personal information away from online searches, Associated Press reported. The company in a statement said it will allow people to request that more content like phone numbers, email and physical addresses be removed from search results.
The new policy also allows the removal of other information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials, the agency reported.
“An open access to information is vital, but so is empowering people with tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private,” Google said in a statement.
“Privacy and online safety go hand in hand. And when you’re using the internet, it’s important to have control over how your sensitive, personally identifiable information can be found,” the statement added.
Earlier, the search engine had allowed users to request that highly personal information causing direct harm can be removed. It included details like bank account or credit card numbers that could be potentially misused for frauds.
But information increasing pops up in unexpected places and is used in new ways, so policies need to evolve, the company said.
Having personal contact information openly available online also can pose a threat and Google said it had received requests for the option to remove that content, too.
“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google Search won’t remove it from the internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so,” it said.