How to Remove Personal Information From Google Search

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Summary: How to Remove Personal Information from Google Search

Every piece of personal info you share online will find its way to Google’s search results. The problem is, other people can share your personal information, as well. This can range from embarrassing but harmless photos to life-shattering revenge porn. Hackers can use this data for doxing, identity theft, and many other attacks.

If you fall victim to one of these acts of cybercrime, Google can help you remove the following information from its search results:

  • Pages containing images of (sexual) child abuse
  • Passport or social security numbers
  • Bank account or credit card numbers
  • An image of your signature or ID documents
  • Explicit images/videos that were uploaded without consent
  • Personal medical records
  • Personal contact info (emails, phone numbers, and physical addresses)
  • Confidential login credentials

To keep yourself alert to instances of identity theft, revenge porn, or other devastating cybercrimes, we recommend getting Norton LifeLock. This software monitors suspicious use of personal information and can even reimburse you in cases of financial loss due to identity theft.

Visit Norton LifeLock

Is your personal information available in Google search results? Need more information on keeping your data safe? Keep reading below.

Ever tried googling yourself? Other people definitely will at some point. Think of possible future employers or even your friends just messing around. To help with this, we compiled all the information you need to remove personal information from Google.

Google is the most popular search engine in the world. It accounts for 76% of all desktop searches and 86% of mobile queries. People can find all sorts of info during their Google searches — including personal information about you. Not only does this violate your privacy, but your information could also be used by hackers to try and steal money from you.

How do you remove your personal information from Google? Will Google immediately delete your information? Find out in our full guide below.

How Do I Remove Personal Information from Google?

Remove personal information from internet iconWhen you share personal info online, you can usually take it down yourself.

To do this, you’ll have to go to the source: the site or the account where you shared the info. This also goes for anything you’ve shared on social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn. Simply delete unwanted posts, pictures, and other content from the page or account.

Do keep in mind that it could take a couple of weeks for the search engine results pages (SERPs) to adjust themselves.

If you want to keep certain posts on your social media but don’t want them to show up on Google, there’s another solution. Often, the key is in your privacy settings. Facebook, for example, allows you to make your entire profile invisible to search engines. This way, your boss won’t come across your personal Facebook posts when they Google your name.

What If Someone Published Information About Me Online?

Surprised man iconDid someone else share your personal info and you want it deleted? Your best bet is to ask the website’s owner (or the owner of the social media account) to delete the post or page.

This goes for those pictures of a drunk night with your friends or misattributed quotes in news articles. Simply ask the people concerned to take the pictures or information down.

If they don’t comply, you can always drown out the information by posting new content yourself. You could create new social media profiles and post on different forums, for example. If done right, your new input will be placed higher in Google’s search results. This, in turn, will push the problematic page further down. While far from ideal, this is one option to deal with stubborn individuals or webmasters.

There’s another way, however. If you live in the European Union, you could also refer to the “Right to be Forgotten” as part of the General Data Protection Regulation. More on this later.

How to Request for Removal of Information with Google

In many cases, Google will refuse to remove search engine entries. As a company, Google stands for free internet and unlimited data sharing. Therefore, it won’t delete anything from its database unless there’s a serious and legitimate reason for it.

Before submitting your request, Google advises contacting the webmaster of the page in question. There are several ways to go about this:

  • On-site contact details: Look for an email address or a “Contact Us” page, usually found at the bottom of the site’s homepage.
  • WhoIs search: In Google, type “whois [www.website.com]”, and look for Registrant Email or Administrative Contact.
  • Hosting company: Contact the company that hosts the website in question. This information is also available via a WhoIs query.

If none of this works, you can submit a removal request to Google.

The EU introduced the Right to be Forgotten back in 2014. This allows users to request the removal of personal info from Google search results. The team evaluates all requests individually and will either accept or reject them.

However, requesting to remove information takes a bit of preparation. First of all, it’s important to decide what kind of information you wish to see removed. Google differs between different kinds of information.

Type of InformationDescriptionRemoval Request Link
Outdated InformationAny Web page or image that is outdatedRequest to remove outdated content
Personal InformationNon-consensual explicit personal images, involuntary fake or irrelevant pornography, content on sites with exploitative removal practices, personally identifiable information, images of minorsRequest to remove personal information
Illegal ContentContent that violates applicable lawsReport content on Google
Other InformationInformation that doesn’t fall under previous categoriesRequest to remove information

Folder, Delete button and judge gavel iconGoogle doesn’t just remove personal information that can cause harm when spread online. It also lets you report illegal content that may or may not concern you directly.

If you wish to report personal content on Google, simply fill out this form. Click on “Google search” and choose the option that best describes your situation.

How to remove outdated information from Google

Outdated information iconDid you delete information from your website, but it still shows up on Google even after a few weeks? If so, you can fill out this removal request form. Google will remove either full web pages or images of outdated content if your request fulfills either requirement:

  • You do not own the webpage you are reporting.
  • The page or image no longer exists, or it is significantly different from the current version.

You can also check the status of your request on this status page.

How to remove personal information from Google

You can request to remove information about you from Google’s properties. However, note that you can only have this information removed if it “creates significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud, or other specific harms.” In other words, nothing will happen unless you provide a good enough reason.

Infographic showing types of personal information you can delete from Google

Here are the kinds of personal information you can delete from Google:

  • Unwanted and explicit personal images
  • Involuntary fake (and irrelevant) pornography
  • Content about you on sites with exploitative removal practices
  • Select financial, medical, and national ID information
  • Doxing content (exposing information with an intent to harm)
  • Images of minors

Recently, Google has also added phone numbers, emails, and physical addresses to this list. The new policy expansion also includes confidential login credentials and other info that could lead to identity theft.

If you’re dealing with one of the cases above, or you’re in a similar situation, you can submit removal requests. The form you need to fill in will ask you to explain your case.

Depending on the data you wish to remove, you’ll be asked to provide some personal info. For starters, enter your name and email address. You might also have to share the last four digits of your credit card or social security number.

Once you’ve added links to the page you want to modify and to one Google search that shows that page, you’ll be able to send your request. Google will let you know whether they accept or reject it.

How to remove other kinds of information from Google

Delete button and information iconIf you wish to remove info that’s not illegal, you can use this form. This form will allow you to share your concerns about a page you wish to have removed from the search results. After explaining your reasons, you can send in your request.

It’s also possible to refer to the European law of data protection, as long as you live in the EU. Be aware, however, that removing webpages from Google won’t make those pages disappear from the internet. They’ll still exist.

The only thing Google can do is delete the entry so people won’t be able to find the URL through their services. If you want the information to be scrubbed off the internet completely, you’ll have to contact the webmaster.

What Kind of Data Does Google Remove?

Archive folders, photo, question mark and delete button iconWhile removing yourself from Facebook is quite simple, removing yourself from Google takes some work. It requires an actual Google employee to review your situation. Google has specific and strict rules about data removal.

Usually, they consider the possible damage for the individual versus the greater good of the public space. This is why a bad review or opinion online won’t be deleted easily. While potentially hurtful for an individual, other people could be interested in reading this review in order to make a well-informed choice when buying goods or hiring a service.

Here are Google’s guidelines when it comes to search result removals.

  • Pages containing images of (sexual) child abuse
  • Data about which Google has received a valid legal takedown request that complies with the requirements of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Data Google might remove

  • Passport or social security numbers
  • Bank account or credit card numbers
  • An image of your signature
  • Explicit images that were uploaded without consent
  • Confidential personal medical records
  • Personal contact information (emails, phone numbers, and physical address)
  • Confidential login credentials

It’s a good thing these things can be removed because they can play a big part in cybercrimes like identity theft and revenge porn. To help the victims of such crimes, it’s essential to delete harmful content from search results.

Data Google usually doesn’t remove

Unfortunately, Google explicitly states that they typically don’t honor requests to remove:

  • Dates of birth
  • Data that can also be found publicly on official government websites

In this case, your best bet is to manually remove your personal information from the individual sites. Clear your profiles of personally identifiable information, or delete your accounts entirely.

To reiterate: if the information you wish to remove is on a website, getting it removed from Google will not make it disappear. It’s better to tackle the problem at the source.

Prevent Identity Theft With LifeLock

Do not disclose your identity iconOut of all attacks involving your private info, identity theft has to be the most devastating. Criminals can use your data to rob you, destroy your career and reputation, and even leave you with a hefty criminal record. In short, identity theft can destroy your life.

That’s why we always recommend using an advanced tool like LifeLock to mitigate the damage caused by identity scams. Although it can’t protect you against identity theft, LifeLock can alert you when suspicious activity is noted. Some of its essential features include:

  • Scans & alerts: LifeLock will alert you the moment it detects suspicious use of your personal info. It monitors Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian for credit score changes. It also monitors a lot of other organizations for any evidence of identity theft.
  • Protection of your devices and online traffic: You can bundle LifeLock with Norton antivirus software as well as Norton Secure VPN. This package will keep you safe from malware while encrypting your online activity.
  • Professional support: LifeLock’s US-based support team is always there to help you when their software detects something suspicious.
  • Reimbursement policy: If identity theft causes financial loss, the company will reimburse up to a million dollars, depending on your chosen subscription.

In short, Norton’s LifeLock allows you to react in a timely fashion when you become a victim of identity theft. If you want this head start, just click the button below to visit their official website.

Visit Norton LifeLock

You can also use their 30-day money-back guarantee to test LifeLock free of charge. If you don’t like it, you can request a full refund, no questions asked.

Protect Your Identity and Personal Information Today

Because of the Right to be Forgotten, it’s possible to step up to big international search engines like Google and ask them to remove certain information about you. This helps you keep your Personally Identifiable Information private.

Before you do this, however, it’s always wise to make sure you can’t remove this data yourself first. If you can’t get rid of the information this way, ask the website’s owner to help you out.

If neither of these steps helps, you can fill in the appropriate form on Google to have the page deleted from the search results. The nature and source of the information you wish to delete determine which form you need to fill in. If Google accepts your request, the sensitive information will disappear from the search engine.

To keep yourself informed of potential cases of identity theft, we recommend getting a tool like Norton LifeLock.

For more resources on online privacy and other search engines, check out our articles below:

How to Remove Personal Information From Google Search: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have some additional questions about scrubbing your personal info from Google’s search results? Simply click on one of the FAQs below to expand the answer.

You can’t really block your name on Google. The only way is to delete every entry containing your real name, which is borderline impossible. If you want to remove your name from a particular website, your best bet is to contact the webmaster. When it comes to social media, though, you can simply make your profile “private.” If everything else fails, you can always try your luck and submit a request to Google. You can find out more about this problem in our guide on removing personal info from Google.

Yes! Google allows you to submit a request to remove your personal info from search results. However, their criteria for accepting these requests are rather strict and you need to have a valid reason for removal. Having said that, if you’re in danger of identity theft or a victim of revenge porn, your request will definitely be accepted.

If you have a valid enough reason, you can submit a request asking for Google to remove your data from any search results. Info shown by Google can be used to mount an attack against you, steal your identity, and perform other cybercriminal acts. So, it’s always a good idea to keep your personal info away from any websites and, consequentially, Google search results. You can also use this request to take down any explicit images or videos that could harm you or your family.

Author
Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. She has broad experience developing rigorous VPN testing procedures and protocols for our VPN review section and has tested dozens of VPNs over the years.
Author
Tech journalist
Djordje is a cybersecurity copywriter with an extensive background in law and marketing. He was a team leader in a company specializing in content creation in the field of technology. His main interests include legal frameworks for censorship on all levels and the place of VPNs and other cybersecurity software on that spectrum.