We’ve all Googled ourselves at some point. You know, just to see if there’s something cool or interesting about you out there. Or to make sure those college pictures of you in your largest pair of JNCO jeans are truly gone for good.
But sometimes especially sensitive private information can get online via a leak or hack. We’re talking about your private number or email address, physical address, or even credit card information floating around the internet.
Thankfully, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) offers a means to scrub that content from its search engine for good. In the coming months, the company says it will release a tool to make it easier to remove your data. But for now, here’s how to get the tech giant to clear your personal private information from its massive search database.
Getting Google to remove your data from search
Since there’s no truly easy tool for getting your data off of Google, the first thing you’ll need to do is navigate to the company’s support website at support.google.com and type “Remove select personally identifiable info or doxxing content from Google Search” into the search box.
Click the “Read More” button under the box at the top of the screen that says “Remove select personally identifiable info or doxxing content from…”
Scroll down to the “Request to remove select info from Google Search” section and click the “Start removal request” button.
On the next page you’ll be met with a selection of multiple-choice choice questions. To begin the content removal process, you’ll have to choose “Remove information you see in Google Search” under the “What do you want to do section.”
Under “The information I want to remove is:” section, choose “In Google's search results and on a website.” If you choose the “Only in Google’s search results” the company will assume that your content isn’t on another website, and provide you with information about removing old data from Google search.
Below “Have you contacted the site’s website owner?” choose the option that best fits your situation. If you haven’t contacted the owner, Google will provide you with information about how to do so, but won’t let you proceed with removing your info from search.
If you chose that you contacted the owner already or prefer not to, you’ll next have to select the data you want removed from Google’s search.
Choose “Personal info, like ID numbers and private documents” and under the next question choose whether you need to get rid of your contact information, government-issued ID, bank account number, or medical data.
You’ll then have to choose whether the website is still live and if the data is being used to doxx you, or spread your private data online.
After that, fill out the dialog boxes asking for the site’s URL, what search terms you used to find it, and a screenshot of the site itself.
Click the signature button to tell Google everything you’ve entered is accurate, then click submit.
Google will then review your submission to determine if it should take your information offline. If your content is an important part of the public record, Google will keep it online. So you’re a member of Congress and broke the law, you’re out of luck. If not, though, the company will likely remove it.
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