Once upon a time, it was possible to monitor information available about you on the Internet. But with the widespread use of the Internet and the emergence of many social media platforms, this information is not only quickly accessible, but also difficult to remove.
If you find yourself wondering if you can erase your data from the web, you’re not alone. according to 2022 Survey search by NordVPNAnd the 55% of Americans wish they could delete themselves from the internet, and another 42% fear someone will hack them.
Clearing your private information from the Internet is a difficult task, and there is rarely a guarantee that anything removed will remain offline permanently. But reducing your digital footprint is possible.
according to Daniel MarcusonAs a NordVPN digital privacy expert, you can take a number of steps to start scanning your personal information.
1. Google yourself
The first step is to understand what information is available about you. When you share something online, you give up control over that piece of data, so you can search for photos and personal information on the web for yourself.
According to Markuson, you can start by identifying any sites you’ve used to host your data, including forums and sites that you personally own. Do a Google search of your information on sites that may have copied your data or registered your data so that you are aware of what is out there.
2. Delete, deactivate and wipe
Once you’ve tracked down this information, remove any data you can and then Either delete, anonymize or deactivate your accounts.
You will need to delete your social media profiles – especially with the notorious Bad actors like Facebook – And if you really want to leave no trace, delete your accounts with online shopping, dating and other services, such as Skype or Dropbox.
Keep in mind that you still need to remove data from apps and sites that you no longer use. MoreoverSince it can take some time for search engines to clear their caches, which Capture and cache website data.
3. Opt out of data brokers (and do so regularly)
“You also need to unsubscribe painfully – one by one data brokersMarcuson said, referring to organizations that scrap the Internet for private information that could be sold to third parties.
When you searched Google yourself, you may have seen your information appear in results for Popular data brokerage sites Such as Spokeo, MyLife, Whitepages, BeenVerified, Intelius and others who create online profiles for people.
There are tools like delete me Helps remove your information from data brokers. DeleteMe Offers Free Unsubscribe Guide To help you request removal of information From many of these sites – but annoying, you will have to deal with each one separately if you do it yourself.
Data on most data broker sites is usually updated every Three monthsso you’ll also need to check them regularly to stay on track.
Alternatively, you can set up a DeleteMe membership for about $129 per year. The company can help It removes you from over 30 top data broker sites in the US and continues to do so for as long as your subscription continues. When you sign up for DeleteMe, you can choose how many people – you plus any family members or co-workers, for example – and how many years you want included in your subscription.
If you discover information on UK or EU platforms, consider subscribing incognito, which has the ability to remove your data from over 130 data brokers for $70 per year. Before choosing a service, do your research on how many data broker sites you access and compare the price points.
Gal RingleCEO of Mine, a “comprehensive privacy group” focused on Data privacy rights, also recommend that you seek professional help if it is difficult for you to manage these steps on your own. Mine says it acts as a “smart data assistant” dedicated to helping discover and manage your data online.
“Saymine.com It helps you reduce digital risks by allowing you to discover all companies holding your personal data and the risks associated with it, and enables you to send official data deletion requests to companies. A premium version is planned for the future.
“If you find your personal information on other sites, you can always send a request asking them to delete it in the hope that they will follow through,” he added.
If they don’t, “Google also has tools and Processes To help you clear unwanted results from the web,” Marcuson said.
These methods are not permanent solutions but are meant to reduce your online presence. You can set a quarterly reminder to take these steps and check back.
4. Follow legal procedures if necessary
There are also some legal procedures to follow when content is online without your consent. With measures such as the General Data Protection Regulation In Europe and California Consumer Privacy Act In the United States, there are legal rights to protect data and the consequences if violations occur.
“Examples of legal procedures abound GDP and Consumer Privacy Protection Act finesRingel said. If an organization fails to protect an individual’s personal data, it could face serious penalties.
Recently, for example, cosmetics giant Sephora was fined $1.2 million Because it failed to disclose that it was selling personal information to consumers and did not honor requests to opt out of such sales. If you need to take legal action to remove information from the Internet, contact a lawyer for assistance.
You must be authorized to use the Internet on your own terms while maintaining diligence and caution about how you present your information online.