Your private data is all over the Internet. Here’s what you can do about it

If you are reading this, it is likely that your personal information is publicly available. And by “public” I mean everyone, everywhere. It’s never a bad time to get your internet privacy straight and effectively “delete” yourself from the internet. But if you are wondering how deleting yourself from the internet can prevent companies from getting your information? Short answer: It can’t.

You can never completely remove yourself from the internet, but there are ways to reduce your digital footprint, reducing your chances Personal Data Being there. However, be careful: removing your information from the Internet, as I explain below, may negatively affect your ability to communicate with potential employers. Are you still interested? Here are some ways to disguise your digital self.

1. Delete or deactivate your shopping, social media and web service accounts

Think about the networks you have social media profiles on. Apart from big ones (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), do you still have old accounts on sites like Tumblr? Myspace? What about your Reddit account? What shopping sites have you signed up for? Common ones may include information stored on AmazonAnd the Gap.comAnd the and others.

Using a service like DeleteMe can make it less difficult to remove yourself from the Internet.

Shot by Eric Franklin/CNET

To get rid of these accounts, go to your account settings and look for an option to either deactivate, remove, or close your account. Depending on the account, you may find it under Privacy or Security, or something similar.

If you’re having trouble with a specific online account, try searching online for “how to delete”, followed by the name of the account you wish to delete. You should be able to find some instructions on how to delete this particular account. (over here How to permanently delete your Facebook account without losing your photos.)

If for some reason there are any accounts that are not deletable, change the information in the account to something other than your actual information. Something completely fake or random.

Read more: Best VPN Service of 2022

2. Remove yourself from data collection sites

There are companies out there that collect your information. They’re called data brokers, and they have names like Spokeo,, and PeopleFinder, among many others. They collect data from everything you do online and then sell that data to interested parties, mostly in order to advertise to you more specifically and sell you things.

You can now search for yourself on these sites and then deal with each site individually to remove your name. The problem is that the withdrawal procedure from each location is different, and sometimes includes sending faxes and filling out the actual paperwork. physical. worksheet. What year is this again?

Anyway, the easiest way to do this is to use a service like delete me. For $129 per yearService will jump through all those monotonous hoops for you. Will check back every few months to make sure your name is not re-added to these sites.

Be warned: if you remove yourself from these data brokerage sites, you will also mostly remove yourself from Google search results, making it very difficult for people to find you. DeleteMe also gives you a bunch of DIY guides on how to remove yourself from each individual data medium if you wish To do this process yourself.

3. Remove your information directly from websites

First, check with your phone company or cellular service provider to make sure you’re not listed online and ask them to remove your name if you are.

If you want to remove an old forum post or an embarrassing old blog you wrote back in the day, you will have to contact the webmaster of those sites individually. You can either look at the ‘About Us’ or ‘Contacts’ section of the site to find the right person to contact or go to and search for the domain name you wish to contact. There you will find information about who exactly you should contact.

Unfortunately, the operators of private websites are not obligated to remove your posts. So, when contacting these sites, be polite and state clearly why you want to remove the post. Hopefully they will actually follow up on it and remove it.

If they don’t, tip #4 is a less effective, but a viable option.

4. Remove personal information from websites

If someone posted sensitive information about you like your Social Security number or bank account number and the posted webmaster didn’t remove it, you can submit a legal removal request to Google to have it removed.


You may have to exercise Google’s legal powers to remove your personal information from a complex site.

Shot by Eric Franklin/CNET

The removal process can take some time, and there is no guarantee that it will be successful, but it is also your best remedy if you find yourself in this precarious situation.

5. Remove old search results


Google’s URL removal tool is easy to use to clear evidence of past mistakes from the internet.

Shot by Eric Franklin/CNET

Let’s say there’s a web page with information about you that you’d like to get rid of – like a previous employer’s employee page, months after you changed jobs. Contact them to get them to refresh the page. They do, but when you search for your name in a Google search engine, the page still appears in the search results – even though your name is nowhere to be found when you click the link. This means that the old version of the page is cached on Google’s servers.

This is where this tool comes in. Submit the URL to Google in hopes of updating its servers, and delete the cached search result so you’re no longer associated with the page. There’s no guarantee that Google will remove the cached information, for reasons, but it’s worth trying to kick as much of your online presence as possible from the Internet.

6. Finally, the last step you want to take is to remove your email accounts

Depending on what type of email account you have, the number of steps this will take will vary.

You will have to log into your account and find the option to delete or close the account. Some accounts will remain open for a certain period of time if you wish to reactivate them.

An email address is necessary to complete the previous steps, so make sure this is your last address.

one last thing…

Remember to be patient when going through this process, and don’t expect to complete it in a day. You may also have to accept that there are some things that you won’t be able to permanently delete from the internet.

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