Management Assistance Program
You (and Your Clients) Can Now Ask Google to Remove Your Personal Data From its Search Results
By Jim Calloway
Google has announced a process to allow people to request removal of their personal data from Google search results. Removal is not guaranteed but the stated exceptions are rare. You will want to Google yourself in advance and screenshot any problematic content you find. But this is still an improvement over litigating with Google about what content should be removed.
You may have some clients, particularly those who have been victims of cyberstalking, who will be grateful if you let them know this is available. This follows up on a change Google announced six months ago to allow minors or their caregivers to request their images be removed from its search results.
This just impacts Google search results and not the original content Google indexed. And it won’t impact other search engines. But Google has the biggest market share, and it is likely other search engines will adopt similar policies.
Lawyers who obtain new clients from the internet should move cautiously with these modifications, however. It’s good business to have your office phone number on the internet in many situations. So, identifying the sites that have your personal mobile phone or unlisted number on them and sharing that URL with Google for removal may be better than a broad request to delete contact information.
It is hard to imagine any former client who wouldn’t appreciate your firm sharing information on how to better protect their privacy. You can cite the sources below.