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Google adds ways to protect privacy in searches

AP – Google has expanded options for keeping personal information private from online searches.

The company said earlier this week that it will let people request that more types of content such as personal contact information like phone numbers, email and physical addresses be removed from search results.

The new policy also allows the removal of other information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials.

The company said in a statement that open access to information is vital, “but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private”.

“Privacy and online safety go hand in hand. And when you’re using the Internet, it’s important to have control over how your sensitive, personally identifiable information can be found,” it said.

Google Search earlier had permitted people to request that highly personal content that could cause direct harm be removed. That includes personal details that could be used for fraud.

But information increasingly pops up in unexpected places and is used in new ways, so policies need to evolve, the company said.

A woman walks past the logo for Google. PHOTO: AP