Many people don’t know how to ask Google to remove content from the Internet. The first step is to learn what your options are. You can do that by visiting Google’s Legal Help section. An excerpt:
If you’ve come across content on Google that may violate the law, let us know, and we’ll carefully review the material and consider blocking, removing or restricting access to it. Abusive content on Google’s services may also violate Google’s product policies, so before sending us a legal request, consider flagging the post, image, or video for one of our content teams to review.
Understanding Google’s policy toward inappropriate content on websites is the first step in determining whether you have a case. That is explained in Google’s Terms of Service:
Our Services display some content that is not Google’s. This content is the sole responsibility of the entity that makes it available. We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law.
Google often requires a court order before it will remove content. This is an excerpt from the Court Order section of Google’s FAQ:
If a court has ruled that web pages in Google’s search results or content on a Google service is unlawful, you can submit the order through our troubleshooter for our review. Please note that we only accept valid court orders signed by a judge. We may voluntarily remove the content from our services if provided with specific URLs and if the terms of the court order indicate the content violates the law.
If your issue pertains to defamation, What to Do When You Are the Victim of Online Defamation, by David O. Klein, Esq. and Christine Rafin, Esq. may be a helpful resource. Another is the Lumen database, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Lumen is a research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content. The organization’s goals are to educate the public, to facilitate research about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal that are being sent to Internet publishers and service providers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the “ecology” of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.