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goodgle search, online privacy, online scams
via Google and Freepik

Google's new personal information removal submission page.

This article originally appeared on 05.03.22


In the internet era, the idea of personal privacy is all but a myth. With a few keystrokes just about anyone can get your home address, phone number, email, age and the names of your family members. The fact that this information is readily available puts us all in the dangerous position of being the victim of fraud, stalking and violence.

What makes the situation even worse is that our information was put online without any of our consent.

The good news is that Google just made a big change that gives us all a little more control over our personal information. On April 27, the company announced it will allow anyone to request removals of their personal information from its Search feature.

“Open access to information is a key goal of Search, but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private. That’s why we’re updating our policies to help people take more control of their online presence in Search,” Michelle Chang, Google’s Global Policy Lead for Search, announced on the company’s blog.

"[T]he internet is always evolving—with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways—so our policies and protections need to evolve, too," Chang continued.

The new policy also allows people to request the removal of personal information in Search that could be used for financial fraud such as log-in credentials or account numbers.

Although Google’s new policy is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t cure the problem altogether. "It's important to remember that removing content from Google Search won't remove it from the internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you're comfortable doing so," Chang said.

Do you have any personal information that pops up in Google Search that you’d like to have removed? Visit the topic’s support page, scroll down and click the “Start removal request” link. As you follow the prompts you will be able to specify the personal information that shows up in Search and will be asked to share a list of relevant search terms, such as your full name, maiden name and nickname. You’ll also be able to share supplemental details before submitting the request.

After your request is submitted, you should receive an email from Google confirming the request was received. It’s unclear how long the removal process will take.

Google’s new policy changes come during a surge in online fraud. The Federal Trade Commission reported that consumers lost $5.8 billion to scammers in 2021, a jump of 70% from the previous year.

A big portion of fraud is committed through online scams as well as identity theft and telephone solicitations.

In an attempt to give the FTC more power to fight back against fraud, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Commerce Committee, will introduce legislation this week to make it easier for the Committee to sue deceptive companies and scammers.

“If the FTC remains disarmed of this critical authority, millions of consumers and small businesses who’ve been scammed, swindled, or locked out of competitive marketplaces will never be made whole,” Cantwell said in a statement.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via Tod Perry

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