Google extends its policy of erasing certain private information

This is a discreet but significant change for Internet users: Google announced on Wednesday April 27 that it was now possible to request, under certain conditions, the delisting of pages containing personal information such as a telephone number, an e-mail address. -email, a postal address or confidential login credentials.

“The internet continues to evolve – information can appear in unexpected places, with new ways to instrumentalize it – so our privacy policy [des utilisateurs] also needs to evolve”, writes in a blog post the head of global policy of Google Search, Michelle Chang. Objective stated by the company: to limit harassment or “doxxing”, this malicious practice consisting in tracking information relating to a person’s private life and displaying it publicly on the Internet, in order to harm him.

In fact, Google already made it possible to delete certain sensitive information, such as a social security number or bank details, under certain conditions: the Internet user making the withdrawal request had to be subject to “threats” or information concerning him may be used by third parties in the context of a harassment campaign. These conditions remain, but it is therefore the list of information that can be the subject of a withdrawal request which is getting longer, as can be seen on the page dedicated to this question in the help center. of the search engine.

Read also: “Doxing”: why some Internet users disclose the private data of their targets

13% of requests are successful

“We will continue to evaluate all content on the affected page [par la demande de retrait] to ensure that we will not limit the provision of information which may be useful, for example, in press articlessays Michelle Chang. We will also assess whether such content appears in public documents, government sites or other official sources. If so, we will not proceed with the withdrawal. »

For the tech giant, the idea therefore remains to find the right balance between, on the one hand, legitimate withdrawal requests and, on the other hand, those aimed at removing elements that are annoying for the people concerned but that could be necessary for the general interest. Currently, only 13% of delisting requests are successful, explains Mme Chang in an interview with the Reuters news agency. The official expects, however, that the new policy put in place will increase this proportion.

In this interview, as in her blog post, the head of Google recalls that information no longer appearing in the pages of the search engine has not disappeared from the Internet: we can often find this information through other engines, for example. To see information disappear permanently, it is therefore advisable to contact the site that hosts it directly.

Read also The “right to be forgotten” does not apply to the whole world, decides European justice

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