Today, data has become one of the most important resources in the world. Unlike tangible resources such as wood and fuel, the same data set can be used multiple times and for different applications. Tons of user data is observed or generated by technology and algorithms to facilitate the personalization we see today.
How and Why Do We Create Data?
So you already know that even the biggest corporations in the world need your data to survive. For example, Facebook and Google services can be seen for free. However, you pay them in a different currency: your data. Social media may use your posts and interactions with ads to determine your likes and dislikes. In some cases, uploaded photos may be used to enhance facial recognition or other technologies. Unfortunately, we don’t know everything that happens with our data.
It’s a scary idea to have your personal information floating around the internet without your permission. In addition, your personally identifiable information may end up on the Internet through phishing, data breaches, sales to data brokers, or similar causes. However, several procedures can help minimize the damage. If you want to know how to delete your data from the internet, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Avoid sharing your personal information
The first step starts with refusing to share your personal information on forums, review websites, social media accounts and gaming portals. You don’t want to tell your fellow player anything about your first pet’s name or your full name.
Additionally, you should never post media about your location or information that someone could use to track you. For example, if you are on vacation, control your impulses and post photos and videos after you return. This helps you filter out the content you actually want to share and prevents any bad guys from stalking you.
Check with search engines to delete your data
Search engines like Google and Bing use data from your devices to improve ad targeting. However, the entities serving those ads may obtain personally identifiable information about you, which can quickly fall into the wrong hands.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to remove any permissions that allow search engines to collect information from you. You can turn off ad personalization on Google by going to your Privacy Settings so that it doesn’t share your information with advertisers. There are similar features for other services such as Microsoft, Steam and Twitter.
In addition, you can request that Google remove certain search results that may be inaccurate or out of date. Of course, the first step would be to contact the web admins who manage your data on a particular website. If you don’t, Google will only remove the search result, but the data will still appear on other channels.
Clear your cache
When browsing the Internet, some websites may only allow you to access their content after you agree to their terms or download something to your computer. Although mostly harmless, a few websites can break your trust and install something malicious like a keylogger or trojan on your devices.
The first step you can take is to delete the cache you have accumulated. In addition, opt out of third-party cookies that may collect information about your activity.
Review your social media accounts
In the rush of life, we often forget what we share on social media and how it can be used to compromise personal information. As such, you should regularly review your social media accounts and delete any posts that may reveal your location or personal information. Experts also recommend checking the permissions granted to various social media apps on your computer and smartphone.
You should also remove any applications from your computer and mobile phone that you no longer use. Some of them may still have permission to collect your personal information. Make sure to delete all temporary files during the uninstallation.
Hire a service to track and delete your online data
You can hire professional data removal services that clean all your personal data from the internet. You can never determine who found your phone number or residential address through your transaction history or data broker.
The best services to remove your personal data from the internet
There are many online services that offer to clean up all your online data. However, a few stand out from the crowd, making their cleaning more thorough and providing better value.
- Hidden. A premium service that includes most data brokers from the EU, UK and US. The service continues to recheck to ensure that your information is not re-added to any database.
- 411.com. 411 works with White Pages to remove all your personal information from the internet, including your phone number. It always checks your profile before deleting relevant records from existing databases. After verifying your identity, your data is deleted within 24 hours.
- Privacy Bee. It’s a little expensive, but it gives you more control over which companies have access to your personal information. You can even set it aside as an extension that prevents any trackers from accessing your system.
Use a VPN
The last step is to take care of your IP address that pops up when you browse. For example, all websites read your IP address to determine your location and other attributes. Hence, a VPN for PC or any other device can be very useful to ensure that you never reveal your true location.
Instead, you can connect to a remote server offered by Virtual Private Network software. All traffic is then encrypted and routed through that server. And of course, your IP address is also replaced with the address indicating the server location you selected.
With so many aspects of our lives online, we should do our best to filter out any personal information. We hope this guide will help you on how to delete your data from the internet. Of course, GDPR and other data privacy regulations can help users delete data manually. After all, services must have the means to perform such requests.