Stepping Towards a Safer Internet

Human beings have always enjoyed an unmatched level of intelligence at their disposal, and yet their record at not making mistakes remains as bleak as one can possibly imagine. This fact, in particular, has already popped up on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each of its appearances practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, on our part, solve the stated conundrum once we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined across each and every area was a game-changer, considering it instantly gave us a cushion against our many shortcomings. Now, while this cushion will waste no time in making things significantly better, technology’s emergence made sure that the said utopia would remain pretty short-lived. You see, the moment technology and its layered nature took over the scene, they allowed everyone an unprecedented shot at exploiting others for their own benefit. In case the situation didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner started to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the drawing board. Following a lengthy time in the wilderness, though, the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and Google’s latest decision can very well take it to another level.

After teasing it for some time now, Google has officially announced that the all-new “Results About You” feature will become available to all US users in the next few weeks. The company is also planning to bring proactive alerts into the mix, an addition that will let you actively receive notifications whenever your personal information appears in a search result. These moves, like you can guess, are largely designed to solve the problem of doxxing, which affects millions of people on a daily basis. Doxxing, which is a way to threaten or harass someone by revealing their personal information to the public without their permission, has been around since long, but given the fact that we now have more tech avenues than ever before, the technique suddenly seems like a convenient method for bad actors to get what they want. This, in turn, has prompted various social media companies to take action. For instance, we have already witnessed Reddit imposing subreddit bans over the practice, whereas YouTube also had to update its harassment policy, a move that made the company’s stance against personal attacks, such as doxxing, a lot stricter.

Coming back to Google’s take on it, once you are notified about your personal information appearing in a search result, you can go ahead and request its removal. Next up, you can even follow the progress of your request in the app, which offers you the option to filter between requests being processed and those that have been approved.

“Even though removing these results doesn’t scrub your contact information from the web overall, we’re doing everything we can to safeguard your information on Google Search. That’s why we’re also making it easier for you to keep tabs on new results about you. We know that keeping track of your personal information online can sometimes feel like a game of whack-a-mole, so starting early next year, you’ll be able to opt into alerts if new results with your contact information appear so you can quickly request their removal.” said Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for Search.

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