How to (sort of) erase yourself from the internet
A quick Google search can reveal a lot about a person — an Instagram photo tagged with their family members, tweets identifying their political affiliation, or a leaked phone number abused by scam callers.
Deleting yourself from the Internet can be difficult in practice. Even if you delete most of your presence on the World Wide Web, there will still be traces of you – a link here, a photo there.
Complete erasure isn’t possible, but here are some ways to get as close to it as possible. But first, let’s understand what we protect.
According PrivacyBeeSensitive data about you online may include six types of information:
- The basics: full name, phone number, training history, and physical address.
- Bank accounts and their identifiers.
- Medical records.
- Insurance information.
- Social Security number.
- Identification details.
Here are ways to protect your information online.
Search first: Google yourself
The popular and widely used search engine is an information funnel and more often than not the #1 access point to information.
It should be noted that the website data constantly collects information, such as YouTube and web search history. You can visit Google Activity Controls and enable “Auto delete” to manage your information.
Google also has a form where you can ask the search engine to remove certain search results or information. If you present a case for the data to be deleted, the search engine will update its results.
Opt out of data brokers
Companies, like PeopleFinder and Spokeo, are responsible for collecting information about people. and sell it to interested parties, including advertisers.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has created a database of 231 data brokers in the United States, which contains information about whether the company allows you to opt out. According to PrivacyBee, this “may be the most impactful step” in this process.
Delete and clean up old accounts
Another important step is to delete your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, Linkedin, Snapchat, Reddit, and Tumblr, as well as other shopping, dating, and ridesharing apps like Amazon , Bumble and Uber, according to NordVPN.
Next comes the hardest part – websites. Shut down your own sites, then clean up any forums you used. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding these sites, as is your email account.
Browse through all the accounts you have ever signed up for using any of your emails. You can then delete and clean up the posts and profiles created. Even if you don’t delete your account, it’s important to delete all old messages and posts. The last step in this process would be to delete your email accounts.
Hire someone to do the dirty work
It takes a lot of time and effort to erase yourself from the internet. Luckily for you, there are paid services that can do the work for you.
Here is five data deletion providers:
- OneRep ($8.33 per month).
- DeleteMe ($10.75 per month).
- BrandYourself ($9.99 per month).
- Safe Shepherd (from $8.33 per month).
- ReputationDefender ($0.95 per month).