How to remove personal data from Google searches – and protect yourself from scammers


With the increase in cybercrime, hacking and scams, the way internet companies handle your personal information has become a major concern for millions of people. In recent years, huge security breaches have seen the private data of millions of people leaked or stolen and sold for profit on the dark web by online criminals.

First introduced by the EU in 2014, the ‘right to be forgotten’ allows EU and UK citizens to fulfill a simple shape with the details of the information they want to remove from Google search listings.

Since the law was introduced, Google says it has received more than 4.4 million “delisting” requests for specific URLs, which are manually reviewed by its staff.

However, to date, he has only agreed to write off about 47 percent of these requests. If a request is denied, you will receive a brief explanation by email.



The government has warned that crooks are using fake digital versions of celebrities like Richard Branson to force people to part with their money.

Google says it will refuse requests for a variety of reasons, but that one of the main reasons people refuse is because they consider the information to be “of public interest.” It can be any information relating to a person’s professional life, a past crime or positions of authority.

“The key term here is relevance, and the items you’re most likely to get are items that are no longer relevant,” says Tony McChrystal, Managing Director EMEA of ReputationDefender, a privacy and privacy management company. online reputation. “Let’s say you’re a doctor who was suspended for drunk driving or a teacher who was suspended from work – well, that’s still relevant for a long, long time.”

“They will also consider whether it is in the public interest that this information is always available. If someone has been the victim of fraud or money laundering, this is information the public would always want to know.”

Most of the information that Google tends to remove is basic personal information such as names, addresses, and family information. By using the 192.com data broker sites, scammers could collect this kind of data – such as your previous addresses or your mother’s maiden name – and use that information to reset your passwords and create a fake one. profile of you. This can put you at risk for serious online attacks and identity theft.

Social media is perhaps the biggest area of ​​risk for your personal data. According to Google, most of the removal requests they receive are URLs from social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. It is important to note that even if a URL for one of these sites is removed from Google search, it does not guarantee that the site itself has removed it, as they are separate entities.

The key, McChrystal says, is not to over-share on these platforms. “The most obvious that we should all be aware of is excessive sharing on social media, like tagging yourself in one place,” he explains. “The number of times I see people tagging themselves in an airport terminal with a pint of lager and saying ‘I can’t wait to go for two weeks’.”

“Well, anyone can go online and find your address in two seconds and know the house is empty for two weeks. So many people are so eager to share too much that they don’t realize how vulnerable it will make them. ”

If you want to protect your data and privacy, the first thing to do is self-audit your online presence. Start with a simple Google search for yourself and see what information is available about you.

Once you’ve built a picture of your web presence, you can begin to put together the kind of information you can and can’t remove. From there, you can request removal from search engines or even work with web privacy companies to secure your online identity.



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