Google Australia rolls out new privacy protections to combat doxxing


Google Australia’s new tool allows users to monitor search results for their phone number, home address, banking details, and email address. The initiative aims to prevent doxxing, financial fraud, and cybercrime.
Google has made new privacy protections available in Australia. Image: Google Australia

The federal government announced this week it will overhaul the Privacy Act of 1998 and bring forward legislation to prevent ‘doxxing.’

Defined as the ‘intentional online exposure of an individual’s identity, private information or personal details without their consent,’ the government states that doxxing is a practice that can leave targets vulnerable and fearful.

While new doxxing legislation will not be instated until August, Google Australia is stepping in now to give users more control over their personal information.

The new Google feature is called ‘Results About You’ and gives Australians ‘tools to check and manage how they show up online.’

Lucinda Longcroft is Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy based at Google’s Sydney office.

“At Google, we strongly believe in open access to information, and we also have a deep commitment to protecting personal information,” says Longcroft. “Our hope is that tools like this will help Australians to better safeguard their information and identity online and help people to protect themselves from doxxing as well as cyber and financial fraud.”

Google states that the new features expand on existing protections that enable personally identifiable information to be removed from search results.

Results About You‘ has been available in other countries since 2022. This is the first time the initiative is available in Australia and coincides with National Privacy Week.

“You can opt-in to alerts if new results with your contact information appear, so you can quickly request their removal. You can also have Google notify you if your contact info appears on Search, and request to remove results you’d rather keep private. In the Google app, you can monitor the status of your removal requests,” says Longcroft.

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here or become a member here.

More from Forbes Australia