The Google This week it said it is expanding the types of data people can request to be removed from search results, to include personal contact information such as your phone number, email address or physical address. The move comes just months after Google rolled out a new policy that enables people under the age of 18 (or a parent/guardian) to request that their images be removed from Google search results.
For years, Google has accepted requests to remove some sensitive data such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers from search results. at Wednesday blog postThe Google Michelle Chang He wrote that the company’s expanded policy now allows additional information that could pose an identity theft risk, such as confidential login credentials, email addresses, and phone numbers, to be removed when it appears in search results.
“When we receive removal requests, we will evaluate all content on the webpage to ensure that we do not limit the wide availability of other useful information, for example in news articles,” Zhang wrote. We will also evaluate whether content appears as part of the public record on government or official resource sites. In such cases, we will not perform removals.”
While Google removing a search result from its index will do nothing to remove the offending content from the site hosting it, having a link separated from Google search results will make the content on that link less visible. According to recent estimates, Google has a market share of nearly 90 percent of search engine usage.
KrebsOnSecurity decided to test this extended policy with what appeared to be a nonsensical request: it asked Google to remove the search result for Brians Clubone of the largest (if not the largest) cybercrime store for selling stolen payment card data.
BriansClub has always misused my name and likeness to pimp their merchandise on piracy forums. Its homepage includes a copy of my credit report, Social Security card, phone bill, and a fake but official government ID.
Briansclub updated their homepage with this information in 2019, after it was widely hacked and A copy of the customer database has been shared with this author. The leaked data – which included 26 million credit and debit card records taken from online retailers and hackers – was eventually shared with dozens of financial institutions.
Take Crunch He writes The policy expansion comes six months after Google began allowing people under 18 or their parents to remove their photos from search results. to to do thatUsers need to specify that they want Google to remove “Photos of an individual under 18 currently” and provide certain personal information, image URLs, and search queries that may return results. Google also allows you to submit requests to remove obscene or intimate non-consensual personal photos from Google, along with involuntary fake pornography, and TechCrunch notes.
This post will be updated if Google responds in one way or another, but it may take some time: Google’s automatic response said: “Due to the precautionary measures being taken for our support professionals in light of COVID-19, it may take longer than usual to respond to your support request. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we will send you a response as soon as possible.”
Update: 10:30 PM ET: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that people need to make explicit or implicit threats regarding requests to remove information such as a phone number, address, or email address from a search result. “There is no requirement that we find content to be malicious or shared in a malicious manner,” a Google spokesperson said.
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