Thanks to a new ruling by the European Commission on the “right to be forgotten”, Google has implemented a new feature that allows you to request the removal of pages that contain personal information about you from its search results. Google says it will comply with the ruling and remove requested search engine results when they are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”
Best of all, while this is an EU ruling, nowhere that I can see is Google limiting search engine result removal to EU citizens. On the request form, Google does ask for a form of photo ID and what country’s laws apply to your request, but Google also states specifically that the photo ID requested doesn’t need to be government issued. That opens up an opportunity for US and other non-EU residents to also clear their names if they need to do so.
The goal here to allow people to protect their reputations in an age where data is never forgotten.
However, there are limits to what Google will remove. For example, Google states that they will “look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”
So if you’ve ever been convicted (or even charged, probably) of some kind of wrongdoing, it’s unlikely Google will remove references the such an event.
If that’s not a problem for you and you’d like to ask Google for help removing search engine results, you can find the form to do so here: Google Search Engine Removal
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