A New Tool From Google Allows Australians To Locate & Request The Removal Of Their Personal Information

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Australian users may now quickly locate search results that contain their personal information and request that Google remove it thanks to a new tool that Google has provided.

In conjunction with Privacy Awareness Week, the “results about you” tool debits on Tuesday, allowing users to view their search engine result page. Then, using the Google app, they can ask for the removal of any results that include personally identifying information, such as home addresses, phone numbers, or emails.

Additionally, users can sign up for alerts to receive notifications of new results with their personal information surface.

In a statement, Google Australia’s director of government affairs and public policy, Lucinda Longcroft, stated, “We hope that tools like this will help Australians to safeguard their information and identity better online and help people to protect themselves from doxing as well as cyber and financial fraud.”

You can use this link to access the tool in a browser or by following these steps to access it on the Google mobile app.

Google will assess the content of the websites that are being asked to be taken down, according to a blog post by Longcroft that accompanied the announcement, “to ensure that we’re not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful, for instance in news articles.”

“And of course, removing contact information from Google search doesn’t remove it from the web, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly if you’re comfortable doing so.”

In the US, the feature was initially released in 2022.

As part of a broader overhaul of the Privacy Act, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese indicated last week that the government would present legislation to make it illegal to expose private information online to cause harm, a practice known as “doxing.”

Google declared that it backs the government’s initiatives. After failing to challenge EU regulations, the firm has previously voiced concerns about non-EU nations enacting laws along the lines of the “right to be forgotten.” In the last few years, Google has deleted over a million links in response to requests to be forgotten.

The federal government last year consented in principle to a limited right to ask a search engine to remove results containing the person’s name, except public reporting, as part of its response to a review of the Privacy Act.

While Google is generally in favour of the planned improvements, its chief privacy officer, Keith Enright, told Guardian Australia in June of last year that search engines shouldn’t be singled out.

“We feel strongly that if you are creating a legal right to remove information from the internet, those requests should be directed to the publishers of that content rather than to search engines because, of course, even if it is suppressed from a search engine, that content still exists on the internet elsewhere,” he said.

“So a more effective way to answer the public policy objective … would be to create that legal obligation for the organisation that’s hosting the content.”

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