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Your phone number on Google? Search giant now takes removal demands

The world’s most used internet search tool said on Wednesday that the expansion of its removal policies globally followed growing demand from users and evolving norms about the threat posed by easy access to contact details.

April 28, 2022 / 07:09 AM IST

Alphabet Inc’s Google has begun entertaining people’s requests to remove search results containing their home addresses, phone numbers and email accounts, the latest shift in its stance between personal privacy and access to information.

The world’s most used internet search tool said on Wednesday that the expansion of its removal policies globally followed growing demand from users and evolving norms about the threat posed by easy access to contact details.

"Research has told us there’s a larger amount of personally identifiable information that users consider as sensitive," Michelle Chang, global policy lead for Google search, said in an exclusive interview. "They are increasingly unwilling to tolerate this content online."

Until now, Google would only accept requests to remove webpages that shared contact info alongside some sort of threat or required payment for removal. It also has stripped links to bank account and credit card numbers and medical records.