There are many reasons why you could be interested in knowing how to disappear from Google and other search engines. It is possible that someone has posted sensitive personal data, slanderous content, or there might be simply something awkward damaging your online reputation.
Knowing the process to disappear from Google is important for managing online reputation, and especially important for celebrities, politicians and public figures in general.
If the information you want to delete is on your own account, for instance on your Twitter or Facebook account, there is not much to say. It is not necessary to make a formal request; you can delete the content by yourself and also delete the account completely. All social networks allow users to remove the accounts or personal profiles from the database.
But we also have rights when the information is on another person’s account. The right to know, update and even erase personal information in databases is known as habeas data, and it is considered in the constitutions and international agreements of several countries. That same right is sometimes called the right to be forgotten.
In some cases it might be difficult to exercise this right. For example, in some countries there are no laws to protect privacy, or the legal procedure is extremely expensive. So, a shortcut to avoid this kind of problem is to make the content disappear from Google, so the link will not appear on the search results and it will be much more difficult to find.
This is possible and quite easy to do in Europe, thanks to the Data Protection Directive of the European Union (Directive 95/46/EC). If you live in the European Union and you want to request Google to remove a search result that contains your personal data, you can complete the form “Search removal request under data protection law in Europe“. Also, it is recommended to check the article “Remove information from Google” and the “Removal policies“. Unfortunately at the moment there is no way to do the same in other countries.
The right to be forgotten could be in conflict with the freedom of speech right, so there is controversy about what of them should prevail. Every circumstance is special, so completing the form does not guarantee that the request will be granted.