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Google Lets Users Scrub Personal Info

Unless you’re Chuck Norris, Googling yourself is rarely a pleasant experience. Finding information that is confidential, intimately personal, or personally identifying on a Google search results page is truly horrifying.

Besides the social media accounts that you may have left on “Public settings” or the shopping records that were leaked when a retailer got hacked, there are even more nefarious methods that could land your data on the most popular search engine on Earth. And in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing—every online photo, status update, social media post, and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever.

Now, Google has introduced a new privacy feature that enables users to scrub their personal information from web searches. The new “remove result button” enables users to request that pages containing their phone numbers, home addresses, or email addresses be removed from appearing in searches.

Users may also request the removal of results containing their social security numbers, bank account and credit-card numbers, and medical records. Users also may remove information that is “outdated” or “illegal.”

Google said in a statement, “It is a way to help you easily control whether your personally identifiable information can be found in Search results.” Google stressed that the tool is designed only to allow users to better control the accessibility of their most personal information, and not to censor more general web content.

Although Google cannot remove content from websites it does not control, it accounts for over 80% of all web searches, so having Google remove the offending page from their results greatly lowers the page’s search visibility.

Possible Preaching Angle:

The web is a place where information lives forever and nothing ever is forgotten. This should be a reminder to everyone that God’s books record everything: words, thoughts, deeds (Rev. 20:11-12). The only way to “remove result” is through confession (1 John 1:9) and the grace of God which applies the expunging effect of the blood of Christ (Col. 2:11-15). New Years is a good time to remember that God can give us a fresh start every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).

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