Google’s new tool for personal data removal in Australia

Google launches ‘results about you’ tool in Australia for personal info removal, aligning with Privacy Awareness Week. Users can request removal of personal data from search results, subject to Google’s content evaluation.

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Google released a new feature for Australian citizens aiming to easily find search results that contain their personal information and request their removal. Released during Australia’s Awareness Week, the tool ‘results about you’ will allow users in Australia to request the removal of search results that contain personally identifiable information including phone number, home and email address.

As explained in the blog post by Lucinda Longcroft, Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy, Google Australia and New Zealand, once Google receives a removal request, it will first evaluate the content to ensure that they are not limiting the availability of other relevant information that is ‘broadly’ useful such as in news article.

Why does it matter?

Removal of personal information in light of the right to be forgotten has not yet been implemented under Australian law. Instead, individuals can ask an organization to do it for them as stated under Articles 11-13 of the Australian Privacy Principles (APP).

The issue of the whole right to be forgotten provisions was initiated by the Australian government in June 2023, where the government suggested a ‘right to be forgotten’ law to modernise the Privacy Act. At the same time, Google stated that its legal efforts to remove online content should target content creators, not just search engines, as removing it from search results doesn’t entirely erase it from the internet.