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“Protect Your Online Privacy with Google’s ‘Results About You’ Tool”

Results About You: A New Tool for Australians to Protect Their Online Identity

In an effort to enhance online privacy and protect personal information, Google has launched a new feature called “results about you” in Australia. This tool allows users to easily find instances where they are mentioned online and request the removal of personally identifiable information from search results. It aims to give individuals more control over their online presence and safeguard their identity from potential cyber and financial fraud.

The “results about you” feature, which was introduced on May 8 to coincide with Privacy Awareness Week, enables Australians to quickly locate any references to their phone number, email address, or home address on the internet. By identifying these entries, users can then take action to have them removed from search results. This serves as a proactive measure in protecting personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Moreover, individuals have the option to subscribe to receive updates whenever a new entry mentioning them is discovered. This feature, similar to the Google Alert tool, ensures that users stay informed about their online presence and take necessary steps if any unauthorized information is found.

When a removal application is submitted, Google conducts a thorough evaluation of the content on the webpage in question. The company ensures that removing the identified information does not compromise the availability of other broadly useful information, particularly in news articles. While Google removes the contact information from its search results, it is important to note that this does not remove it from the web entirely. Therefore, individuals may need to directly contact the hosting site to request further removal if they feel comfortable doing so.

Lucinda Longcroft, Google’s director of government affairs for Australia, expressed the company’s hope that tools like this will empower Australians to protect their information and identity online. By combating practices like doxing, where private information is released online with malicious intent, individuals can better shield themselves from potential harm. Additionally, this tool serves as a preventive measure against cyber and financial fraud, which can have severe consequences for victims.

In line with the government’s efforts to safeguard the privacy of its citizens, legislation will be introduced to address the release of private information online with the intent to cause harm. This move, part of the broader reform of the Privacy Act, aims to combat doxing specifically. However, it is important to note that this legislation will focus solely on private information and exclude media reporting. Google has expressed its support for these government initiatives, highlighting its commitment to protecting user privacy and supporting efforts to create a safer online environment.

Overall, the “results about you” tool introduced by Google in Australia is a significant step towards empowering individuals to take control of their online identity. By allowing users to easily locate and request the removal of personally identifiable information, this feature provides a sense of security and privacy. Combined with upcoming legislation to combat doxing, Australians can look forward to a safer and more secure online experience, with enhanced protection against cyber and financial fraud.

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