How to Remove Pictures from Google Image Search  

Google Images has to be the most powerful image search tool on the Web. If a picture or graphic is published online with no access restrictions, you can probably find it with Google. But what if you encounter a picture of yourself or someone else that you don’t want to appear online? Is there anything you can do to block the picture from search results?

Well, the bad news is that there is no magic trick that will instantly delete all of your unwanted photos from Google search results or, indeed, the Internet itself. Google can neither censor the Internet nor force people to remove objectionable content from their websites. The search giant doesn’t own cyberspace; it only shows you what is out there.

But the good news is that you CAN ask Google to prevent outdated or deleted content from appearing in its searches. In other words, if the pictures are first taken down from the Web, you can then ask Google to update its image search database.

Why Bother Taking Down Pictures?

You may want to remove pictures from Google’s image search database for reasons such as:
•       You found objectionable picture(s) of yourself and/or your loved ones online
•       You removed photos from your online accounts/websites and do not want them to appear in searches any longer
•       You want to protect your copyrighted photos/artwork from unauthorized use

Now here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Remove the picture from the server.

Before you can have a picture removed from Google Images, the owner of the site where the picture is stored must delete it first. If it is hosted on your own website, you can delete it yourself; if the picture is hosted on someone else’s site, you must ask them to delete it or block it from search engines.

You can delete a picture on your own website via either your web host’s file manager or FTP. If your site runs on a blogging tool or content management system such as WordPress or Joomla, you can also delete the image from there, assuming you can locate the file in the image uploads library. Of course, you will need administrative rights to do so (and you should have that if you are the webmaster of your own site).

If the picture is hosted on someone else’s website, contact the webmaster and ask them to delete or block the picture. Look for a contact form, email address or social media page. If there is no information on their website and they are unavailable via social media, look up their WHOIS data. If they don’t have privacy protection and their domain registration is current, you may find a valid email address, postal address or phone number there. Should that also fail to bring results, ask their web hosting provider for help.

After the picture has been blocked or removed, Google will update its database on the next crawl. If you cannot wait for this to happen on its own, you can speed things up with a removal request.

Step 2: Get the image URL.

You must tell Google where exactly the image is – or rather was – located.

1.       Go to Google Image Search at images.google.com or type your keywords in the Google search bar and click Images.
2.       Click the picture you want removed.
3.       Next to the picture on the right, you will see two buttons: Visit page and View image. Click View image. If the file was already deleted, you should see a 404 or “file not found” error page.
4.       Copy the web address in your browser’s URL bar.

Step 3: Submit a removal request to Google.

1.       Go to the official Google page for removal of outdated content at support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1663691?rd=1. Choose the first option, which says “Remove a page from search results that’s already been removed from the website.”

2.       Follow the link to “Remove outdated content” which will take you to a Google Webmaster Tools page. You could also go directly to the latter at google.com/webmasters/tools/removals?pli=1.

3.       Paste the image URL in the URL form and click Request Removal button. (If you are not signed in to your Google account, you may be prompted to do so; otherwise the tool might not work.)

4.       A small window saying “Analyzing URL” will open. The analysis will check if the file has been deleted or blocked from the server. This can take a few minutes. If it says “The content is gone,” and Google confirms you can submit a request, click Request Removal button.

You will now see the request in “Pending” status on a list on the page. Come back to that same page to check the status of your request. If you made a mistake or change your mind, you can cancel the request there as well.

As a reminder, please keep in mind that taking down one picture from Google Images will only take down that one URL. If the same photo appears across multiple web addresses, all copies must be deleted first; then you need to submit a removal request for each one individually.

Is Your Personal Information Safe with Mobile App Stores?

Privacy protection is vital for any Internet user. There is always the risk of your personal data being sold to third parties by a site’s owner, even on well-known, big-name app stores. Hence, it is essential to read and understand every store’s privacy rules. This article explains the level of user privacy each platform offers, and how well the user is informed about the way their information is shared.

 

Android

Google Play is the store for Android mobile apps. According to Google’s policy, they will share personal information of companies, organizations or individuals outside Google only when the concerned individual accepts it. They require opt-in consent for sharing any personal information with third parties. However, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious affiliations, medical information, and sexuality are referred as personal information, according to their user agreement. This does not include the customer’s full name, email, and address that Google Play will reveal to external organizations!

 

App buyers receive no notification when their data is shared. On the other hand, the notification of sharing permission is shown in detail during the installation of Android apps. This allows you to decide whether you are happy to install the app and allow your data to be shared. An important concern on Google Play is that quality control is poor compared to many other platforms, so malicious apps can be present in the store.

 

iOS

Purchasing apps from the iOS App Store means buying directly from Apple. It acts as a retailer for the apps, giving the appropriate revenue share to the developer after the purchase. The advantage of this setup is that Apple does not disclose any of your personal information to the developer. The only information shared is the number of downloads.

 

All iOS apps have a fine level of control for permissions. If any app requires personal data, that data is only shared with the consent of the user. The permissions given by the user during installation are saved in the app’s settings. Another advantage of iOS apps is that they allow you to change permissions for each app at a later date, based on requirement.

 

Windows

The Windows Phone Store’s privacy policy states that Microsoft will share your personal information to “comply with the law” and “protect the rights or property of Microsoft or customers”. It does not say anything about sharing customer’s personal information with sellers or other parties. However, as all the transactions on Windows Phone Store go through Microsoft, your personal details are safe.

In addition, Windows app policies clearly state that if personal data is accessed by an app, it must be after your consent, and the app must provide a method for you to opt out of sharing personal information. However, specific permissions are not allowed, so you may find yourself in an “all or nothing” situation.

 

 

BlackBerry 10

Blackberry’s privacy policy specifies that customer’s consent is required for Research In Motion eCommerce Inc. (RIME) to provide reasonably required payment information to the third party Merchant Of Records (MoRs), payment processors, or other entities for providing purchase and support services.

For financial transactions between vendors and customers, BlackBerry actually collaborates with two companies, Digital River and Bango, to act as merchants and be responsible for transaction processing, billing, and disbursement of revenue. While Digital River will provide reports of transactions to vendors, it does not share the personal information of end users. Unlike Android and Windows Phone 8, BB10 does have settings for permissions, so that you can change the specific permissions you give to apps, without having to uninstall the app completely.

Each company has its own definition of privacy and rules for saving private information. It is up to you to understand these privacy definitions and rules before using app stores, buying apps, and agreeing to licenses. Always read the small print!

 

Red Flags to Look For on Your Credit Report

One of the most important financial documents that you have is your credit report.  While all people have the right to receive a copy of their credit report for free each year from each of the three major credit bureaus, most people do not know how to read the report.  When reviewing your credit report, there are several red flags that you should look out for, which will help you to get the best credit score possible, protect your identity, and avoid fraud.

 

Unfamiliar Accounts

When you are reviewing your credit report, the first red flag that you need to look out for are unfamiliar accounts.  If you have a long credit history, there could easily be twenty current and historical accounts on your report.  While it may be cumbersome to do so, it is important that you confirm that each of those accounts is a legitimate account that you opened in your name.  If the account is not something that you opened, it could either be a mistake made by the creditor or evidence of a fraudulent account being opened in your name.  Regardless of what the cause is, you need to contact the creditor immediately to start the process of having the account removed.

 

Accounts in Good Standing that are not Reported

While it is important to review your report for accounts that are not accurate, you also need to review the report to ensure that all of your actual credit and loan accounts are reported.  If you have a loan or credit card that you have a long and positive history with, having the information on your report will improve your score.  If you notice that one of these accounts is not reported, the missing information is effectively lowering your score.  It would be a good idea to contact the creditor immediately to ensure that the account is reported correctly going forward.

 

Incorrect Personal Information

The third item that you need to look out for when reviewing your credit report is whether all of your personal information has been reported correctly.  Your credit report will include a lot of personal information including your full name, address, prior addresses, and social security number.  If any of this information is incorrect on the report, it could cause an issue when you go to apply for a loan in the future.  Because of this, it is important that you start working with the credit reporting agencies to ensure all of your personal information is reported accurately.