Recently one of my relatives asked me how to get their personal information removed from Google. I had to inform them that you pretty much can’t. Google isn’t the culprit, but the website where you have listed your information (aka Facebook & others). What most people don’t realize is that Google is only collecting publicly available information. It’s not datamining private information. Most people think of Google as being like the phone book where you can contact the phone company to be unlisted. This is actually a wrong comparison. The phone company is providing the service of a phone number and listing those who are using their service. Google isn’t providing the service (unless you’re using your Google Account/Profile). The comparison I used was that of a newspaper who reports a publicly listed police report with a person’s name and city of residence. At that point, anyone can take that name/city and use the phonebook to find their address and phone number. You don’t complain to the newspaper (well, most of the time) because the information is publicly available. It’s up to that person to contact the phone company and tell them to be ‘unlisted’. Because remember, while you might complain to Google, there are many other search engines out there, some big some small, and all have access to public information that’s on the net.
The same applies to the internet and website profiles. Probably 90% of websites with profiles allow those profiles to be listed in Google and other search engines by default. Almost all of them have options to be ‘unlisted’, but you have to make that setting change yourself. If that site does NOT have an option to be ‘unlisted’, then immediately remove your information, delete your account and don’t use that site.
The burden of responsibility falls on YOU the user.
Yes, it sounds like it would be a lot of work, but only at first if you haven’t been following ‘safe surfing’ practices. After that, it’s only a matter of following some simple rules. Here are the ones that I follow: