On the Privacy & Terms FAQ page, Google reminds us that they don’t have the power to remove sensitive content from the web. They do, however, have the option of removing it from the search results.
Even though Google usually does not remove addresses, dates of birth, and telephone numbers from its search results, they may decide to remove the following types of data:
– Images of signatures
– Bank account and credit card numbers
– National identification numbers
– Sexually explicit images uploaded without one’s consent
As for what affects their decision-making process, Google explained that they go after the types of personal information that creates significant risks of financial fraud, identity theft, or other specific harms. Furthermore, they always make their decisions on a case-per-case basis.
Addressing the issue of someone potentially abusing the system to remove non-sensitive types of information, Google explained that they will deny requests in such cases. For example, they opt against removing information that can be found on government websites, and it’s clear to see why: such information is publicly available.
In any case, this is bound to be a positive change not only for data security, but personal privacy as well. However, only time will tell whether these changes will make an impact in practice.