Google Will Soon Notify You

Google Will Soon Notify You If Your Personal Data is Searched Online: Data Privacy Trends

According to an article, Google will soon notify you if someone searches for your name, phone number or address online – assuming you’ve activated a dedicated tool, that is.

The article from Project Counsel Media (SECURITY UPDATE: When someone types your name on Google, you will be automatically notified, written by Cassandra Este) notes that Google is finally tackling the right to be forgotten … and the management of its online information. Last week the search engine announced several measures to strengthen the security and integrity of its users online.

Cassandra notes: “We have been working with the tool since the summer. It will be easier to monitor information about yourself, as well as delete information about yourself. It will also be possible to be alerted in case of nominative research.”

Google will soon notify you if a user searches for your name, phone number or address (press articles will be excluded from the system), Google will be able to alert you – provided that you have previously activated a dedicated tool. The article provides a 13 second video that provides a rough look at how the alert system will work, here’s a screen shot from that video:

Once alerted, it will then be possible for the user concerned to ask for the removal of the information concerned, as a direct application of the right to be forgotten – which for the moment is more of an abstract concept than a real applicable text and treated differently in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world. And, of course, Google does not have control over the entire web. The information can be removed from search engines, but not from the page that hosts it. As Google noted in a press release:

“Even if we remove a content from Google search, it is possible that it still exists on the web”.

Also, there remains only one real solution to make a photo or video disappear:

“contact the webmaster of the site and ask him to delete the content”.

Cassandra notes that “Google actually does have a technology in the works to address that issue”, promising more info in a subsequent post.

Regardless, the initiative already marks a first significant step: Google is – by far – the most used search engine in the world. To remove an information from its pages makes it inaccessible for most Internet users in the world.

For the moment, only a handful of users have access to this new tool. It is expected to be released in the U.S. in the coming months, with a definitive international deployment at the beginning of next year. It will be interesting to see what users need to do to activate it, how effective and precise it will be, etc.

Cassandra concluded the article by stating: “If you ever need/want to follow what Google is doing/what products it is testing/what things it has in the pipeline, I suggest you follow them on Twitter via Google’s SearchLiaison via @searchliaison”. Count me in!

So, what do you think? Are you surprised that Google will soon notify you if your personal data is searched online? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.


  1. Wouldn’t be surprised. BTW, your profile pic fits your comment perfectly, Ralph! It’s as if that’s the pose you’re making when asking the question. 🙂

  2. I wonder how data “security” giants such as Norton360/Lifelock will react to this, as they currently offer a service that searches the web for personally identifying information (PII) and will send a request on your behalf for the webmaster to remove it (i.e., from public background databases such as or InstantCheckmate.Com).
    As is mentioned in the article here, this feature from Google would not send those removal requests to the webmasters, but it might be enough to cause customer disruption by providing a list of those entities that simply need to be contacted. Then again, so many people are addicted to convenience, so maybe not…
    Either way, it’s certainly interesting to keep an eye how the regulations and sales of personal information” continues to develop alongside our technology.

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