May 25, 2022

New Survey From Pew Research “Finds Most Americans Support Right to Have Some Personal Info Removed From Online Searches”

From Pew Research:

Americans prefer to keep certain information about themselves outside the purview of online searches, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June 2019. Given the option, 74% of U.S. adults say it is more important to be able to “keep things about themselves from being searchable online,” while 23% say it is more important to be able to “discover potentially useful information about others.”

The ability to keep personal information from being searchable online is at the crux of the debate around the “right to be forgotten” – a term that first gained attention in 2014 when the European Court of Justice ruled against the search engine giant Google in a high-profile privacy case.


An overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (85%) believe that all Americans should have the right to have potentially embarrassing photos and videos removed from public online search results. About two-thirds (67%) say this should be a right for all Americans when it comes to information about employment history or work records, and more than half (56%) say all Americans should have the right to have negative media coverage about themselves removed from public search results.


When it comes to data collected by law enforcement – like criminal records and mugshots – some groups are more likely than others to say they think the removal of such information from search results should be a right for all Americans. Men are more likely than women to say this (47% vs. 32%), as are black Americans (44%) when compared with white (39%) and Hispanic adults (33%).

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.