Google has introduced a new security feature that allows people under the age of 18 to request the removal of their images from corporate search results. The feature was announced earlier in August (along with the new ban on child advertising ads) but is now widely available.
Anyone can start the removal process from this help page. Applicants will be required to provide the URLs of the images they want to be removed from search results, the search terms that display those images, the name and age of the child, and the name and relationship of the person who may represent them – the parent. or caregiver, for example.
As with these types of removal requests, it is difficult to say exactly what terms Google will apply to its judgment. The company states that it will remove the images of any children “without charges of coercion in the public interest or of having good news.” Interpreting how these words work in different contexts is a difficult task, as we have seen in controversial cases involving EU law on the “right to forget”.
It also appears in Google’s language that it will not comply with requests unless the person in the picture is under 18 years of age. So, if you’re 30, you can’t apply to delete your photos when you’re 15. That limits the range of abuse prevention or abuse tools, but it may make the verification process much easier. It’s hard to prove how old you are in any given image instead of proving how old you are right now.
Google also emphasizes that removing an image from its search results does not remove it from the web. The company encourages those who go through the application process to contact the webmaster directly. Although in cases where doing so has failed, deleting information from the Google index is certainly the next best thing.
In addition to these new options for removing children’s photos, Google already offers other ways to request the removal of certain types of harmful content. This includes sexually explicit images, false pornography, financial or medical information, and “doxxing” information that includes home addresses and phone numbers.