News Column

Tech Q&A: Is There Info You Want Removed From Google?

May 29, 2013
Google searches

QUESTION: How do I get Google to change my profile information? It is way out of date, and I am starting to believe it is turning off new people I meet who want to check me out on Google before even meeting for coffee. I never asked to be on Google. What can I do?

_Will Shapira, St. Paul, Minn.

ANSWER: Removing your information from the Google search engine isn't easy.

Google, as a rule, doesn't let people delete information about themselves from its Web searches just because they want to.

"There is very little that we remove from search results on a discretionary basis," Google says.

In order for Google to delete information from searches, the data must pose a legal problem or be likely to cause a person specific types of harm, such as fraud or identity theft. If requested, Google will delete Social Security numbers and bank account or credit card numbers. It also will delete child pornography and trademark or copyright violations.

Alternatively, you can identify the individual websites that contain information about you and ask the webmaster of each of those sites to remove it. There is no guarantee that the webmasters will comply with your requests.

If a website does agree to remove your personal information, you can then ask Google to delete any old copies it has of that particular website (Google doesn't scan the Web for each search; it scans recently made copies of websites. So eliminating old Web page copies is important.)

For details on how to ask Google to remove personal information, see these entries on Google's support website at http://tinyurl.com/qctoxw5 and http://tinyurl.com/6vl5skp. Google offers details about requesting a website to remove information at http://tinyurl.com/onydrgo.

Q: I've been having trouble loading websites on my computer at night. My cable company, Charter Communications, believes I am getting some kind of signal interference, but so far has been unable to locate the problem. Any suggestions?

_Harley Gellatly, Duluth, Minn.

A: Check on where the incoming cable line splits into two cables, one for the TV and the other for the Internet. If the split is close to the TV, your computer signals may be picking up interference from the TV signals.

NOTE: In last week's column, I incorrectly described the terms of service for Aereo, a company that uses a bank of antennas to receive local broadcast TV signals and stream them over the Internet to subscribers. The company does not charge subscribers based on how many hours of TV they watch; viewing is unlimited. Aereo does charge subscribers based on how many hours of programs they record for later viewing, using controls on Aereo's website. The company charges $8 a month for 20 hours of TV program storage, or $12 a month for 60 hours of storage.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.



Source: (c)2013 Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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