There’s no doubt about the fact that the more our technology advances to answer to our growing dependence on the digital world leaves room for the advancing need for our privacy and security online.
To be fair, we need our security needs met almost everywhere; at our homes, workplaces, in public, and now, in our new homes, online.
Our new digital presences require us to give our personal details such as our phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, and digital addresses, known as our IP addresses. Who’s to say that allowing people access to this information does not leave you vulnerable to privacy threats? For example, some have found that said personal information have landed in online search engine results.
Luckily, Google has launched a new important feature that will allow users to prevent this.
Understanding the Importance of Removing Personal Contact Information
For those who are curious as to how Google’s new features will help, let’s first get to know why these steps and measures are necessary to begin with.
Have you been receiving weird spam emails, calls and messages from weird users? Well, this is likely because they have managed to come across your details by simply performing a Google search.
So, this new feature makes it possible for you to protect your privacy and all in all, protect yourself. The risks of cyberattacks and cybersecurity concerns goes down significantly when you take these steps.
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Google’s “Results About You” Dashboard: The Privacy Control Tool
This was first rolled out by Google last September as a way for users to control where their personal details are shared online. The dashboard can be accessed either online or on the Google app, and when accessed, it asks you to enter your personal details, so that it can scan the web for matches. The results then show users where exactly your info may be online.
But this is where it gets even more reassuring: the new notification feature. Instead of navigating the tool by having to manually input your details for scanning, Google can now alert users if their information has been detected online. This automated tool helps users instantly view and locate their use of data.
Deciding that a certain website shouldn’t or can’t have your phone number? No problem. Users can directly find the site with the number and with the “Results About You” dashboard, Google allows them to submit a removal request.
The feature does still have a few limitations such as its inability to conduct removal requests from government domains, in the UK these are gov.uk TLDs, or recognised learning institutions, in the UK, ac.uk TLDs. Regardless, users should still go ahead and protect their privacy where they can.
A Few More Steps to Amplify Your Online Security
Beyond the dashboard, you can layer your protection by taking a few more steps:
1. Monitor Your Digital Footprint: Periodically search for your name and contact details to flag potential overexposures. If a hit doesn’t resonate well, tackle it.
2. Guard Your Information: It’s simple: share less. Unless a website is trustworthy and it’s absolutely necessary, refrain from dispersing your contact details online.
3. Strengthen Your Passwords: Adopt strong, unique passwords for every online account. Consider using a password manager for enhanced security and ease.
4. Two-Factor Authentication is Your Friend: Whenever the option is available, activate two-factor authentication. It’s like having a second lock on your door.
5. Privacy Settings Aren’t Just a Formality: Regularly revisit and revise the privacy settings on your online platforms, especially social media.
It goes without saying that there are only so many things we can do to ensure our safety as the digital world is growing to be as vast as our galaxies. Features such as Google’s new “Results About You” dashboard can minimise as much as possible, leaving us safer than before from unnecessary and preventable online harm. As mediums such as social media become tools for our careers and businesses, we have nothing to lose in trying to save as much as we can!