How to remove your personal information from the Internet

Once upon a time, it was possible to track what information was available about you on the Internet. However, with the widespread use of the internet and the rise of various social media platforms, this information is not only quickly accessible, but also more difficult to delete.

If you’re wondering if you can delete yourself from the internet, you’re not alone. As of 2022 research survey by NordVPN, 55% of Americans wish they could erase themselves from the Internet, while 42% fear someone will hack them.

Deleting your personal data from the internet is difficult, and rarely is anything that is deleted guaranteed to remain offline permanently. But it is possible to minimize your digital footprint.

according to Daniel MarcusonAs a digital privacy expert at NordVPN, there are a number of steps you can take to begin erasing your personal data.

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 information, so Google yourself to see what photos and personal information are available online.

According to Marcuson, you can start by identifying any sites you use, including those that will post your information, including forums and websites you personally own. Do a Google search for information on sites that may have cloned or embedded your data to see what’s out there.

2. Delete, Disable and Delete

After following this information, delete any possible data and then or delete, anonymize, or deactivate your accounts.

You will need to delete your social media profiles – especially with celebrities Bad actors like Facebook — and if you really want to leave no trace, delete your accounts with online shopping, dating, and other services like Skype or Dropbox.

Note that you should still delete data from apps and sites you don’t use. Also nIt may take some time for search engines to clear their cache temporarily capture and store website data.

3. Opt Out of Data Brokers (and do it regularly)

“You must also painfully – one by one – give up data brokers,” Markuson said, referring to organizations that scour the Internet for personal information that can be sold to third parties.

When you search for yourself on Google, you may have seen your information pop up in the results for popular data brokerage sites like Spokeo, MyLife, Whitepages, BeenVerified, Intelius, and others that build people’s online profiles.

You can request the removal of your personal data from data brokerage sites such as WhitePages, but each must be handled individually unless you opt-in to a service to do this for you.

There are tools like DeleteMe that help you retrieve your data from data brokers. DeleteMe offers a free opt-out guide to help request deletion of information from many of these sites – but annoyingly, if you do it yourself, you’ll have to manage each of them separately.

Data is usually updated every three months on most data broker websites, so you should check it regularly to stay on track.

Alternatively, you can set up a DeleteMe membership for approx $129 per year. The company can help removes you from over 30 of the top data broker sites in the US and continues to do so as long as your subscription lasts. When you sign up for DeleteMe, you can choose the number of people – yourself, any family members or business associates, for example – and the number of years you want to include in your subscription.

If you have discovered information on platforms in the UK or the European Union, consider registering Hidden, has the ability to remove your data from over 130 data brokers for about $70 per year. Before choosing a service, research how many data brokerage sites it has and compare price points.

Gal RingelMine CEO spotlights ‘all-in-one privacy suite’ data privacy rights also recommends seeking professional help if these steps are difficult for you to manage on your own. Mine works as a personalized “smart data assistant” to help you discover and manage your data online. It helps minimize your digital risks by allowing you to discover all the companies that hold your personal data and the associated risks, and allows companies to send official data deletion requests,” Ringel said of his product, which is now free. a premium version designed for the future.

“If you find your personal information on other websites, you can always send a request to ask them to remove it,” he added.

If they don’t, “Google also has tools and processes in place to help you remove unwanted results from the web,” Markuson said.

These methods are not permanent solutions, but are meant to minimize your online presence. You can set yourself a quarterly reminder to repeat these steps and checks.

4. Seek legal remedies if necessary

There are also some legal actions to take when content is posted online without your consent. With measures such as the General Data Protection Regulation In Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act In the United States, there are legal rights to data protection and consequences for violations.

There are many examples of legal actions GDPR and CCPA fines“said Ringel. An organization can face serious penalties if it fails to protect an individual’s personal information.

Recently, for example, the cosmetics giant Sephora was fined 1.2 million dollars because it failed to disclose that it sold consumers’ personal information and failed to comply with requests to opt out of those sales. If you need to take legal action to remove information from the Internet, contact an attorney for assistance.

You should be empowered to use the internet on your own terms, but also be careful and considerate of how your information is presented online.

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