For a while, it has been a hot topic on how to remove personal information from internet & public data sources.
You hear daily news on data breaches, hackers accessing user data, and other online privacy issues. Companies, where we should place our trust, are harvesting user data to pass it on to any of the many advertisers.
It may be the case; you find personal things showing in Google searches. Alternatively, it is too easy for anyone to find out something about you from the information you never posted in the first place.
Here, you can learn how to, permanently delete your personal information from the internet. You may be surprised how easy it is to do, and you may be shocked to see how much personal data of yours is available to anyone.
Social Media Accounts
While social media platforms can be useful for keeping in touch, or for business. They are at the end of the day advertising platforms.
Because of this, all your personal facts are available to anyone, such as full name, relationship status, location, and family, your latest posts, employment, posted pictures, and date of birth.
When searching how to remove personal information, you do need to check areas that you may overlook.
After clearing the more common social media accounts, like FB, Twitter, and Instagram, you need to erase your social presence from more public platforms like Reddit, Amazon, Tumblr, and Google+ even if this is closing.
You may forget everything you signed up for, so you can use tools such as Just Delete Me. Here are online links to anything you may sign up for, while online.
It also comes as an extension where it shows how difficult it is to remove data from your online accounts.
There are also links to social media accounts, and from there, you follow the instructions from the social media platform.
You may think this tiresome, yet the service can regularly remove information from the internet on your behalf for a fee.
When you sign up for email accounts, you may not know how much personal things you hand over and share.
Besides location and username, each time you use this email account to sign up for anything, the mailbox will record and retain passwords and usernames.
Your email address stores many secrets you may be unaware of, so it can be advisable to delete all your accounts, sign up for a secure one, and then user burner emails for signing up for services. If you need to know everything your email is linked to, check out Deseat.me.
The free service shows all websites you have ever signed up for using any given email address. Once you have a list, and it may be larger than you think, you can manually delete yourself from each, which doesn’t allow it to be done automatically.(Learn how to delete your Gmail account)
Google Accounts and Search
Out of any online service, from search engines, Google Maps, Gmail, and others. Google is the number one for knowing everything you do, even if you only make a Google search and nothing else.
However, it can be more accessible now than it used to be:
- Go to Google Account Settings
- Select Data and Personalization
- Scroll down to Delete a service or close your account
- Delete account and all services
All search results are recorded regardless of the search provider. You see this because you get tailored results based on previous searches. Be sure to delete all searches regularly.
Desktops or laptops can only gather data while you use them, and when you turn them on. Mobiles, on the other hand, are always on, and there are many apps, which record as much as possible.
From the online activity, location, pictures, and much more, when you install them, they ask for access, and most users click on ‘Allow.’
Be sure to read terms and conditions, and delete apps you don’t use. You can restrict built in apps, even if you are unable to remove them.
If the likes of FB and Google appear bad enough for retaining data, in many cases, they may take this
from what you offer.
However, you find sites called data brokers. Such websites collect anything that relates to you, and they do this by scouring the internet for such information.
All this can come from public records, where you live, pictures of where you live, telephone number, and much more.
You can find a few websites that do this and one of the more popular being Spokeo. It is scary the amount of information they gather, and if you check out the site, you can see how detailed their results are.
Many individuals ask a couple of questions. Number one being, ‘Is Spokeo legit?’ It sounds unethical, and probably is, but it is a legitimate functioning business. It has won awards and garnered fines in equal measure.
The other question is, how can a data broker sell my info so easily? Unfortunately, this question is often asked, and the answer goes back to users to do it for themselves.
Removing Yourself from the Internet
All the above is an excellent way to start, yet you need to halt the harvesting of new data. Any person using the internet is advised to make use of a VPN service.
All connections are encrypted, so none of the brokers or other sites can read the information you are sending. Besides, once you change the server location, you will appear to be in another country.
To keep anyone safe and out of site online is ExpressVPN. It is simple to use and just works in the background.
When you sign up, you don’t even send your name online. Therefore, once you clear internet traces of your existence, start the best VPN, and go about your business out of prying eyes and remaining anonymous.