How to (kind of) erase yourself from the internet

A quick Google search can reveal a lot about an individual — an Instagram photo with family members tagged, tweets identifying their political affiliation, or a leaked phone number that was hijacked by fraudulent callers.

Deleting yourself from the Internet can be difficult in practice. Even if you erase most of your presence on the World Wide Web, there will still be traces of you – a link here, a photo there.

A complete wipe isn’t possible, but here are some ways you can get as close as possible to it. But first, let’s understand what we’re protecting.

According to PrivacyBee, sensitive data about you online can include six types of information:

  1. The basics: full name, phone number, education history, and physical address.
  2. Bank accounts and their logins.
  3. Medical Records.
  4. insurance information.
  5. social security number.
  6. identification details.

Here are ways to protect your information online.

Research first: Google itself

The popular and widely used search engine is an information funnel and mostly the #1 entry point for information.

It’s worth noting that Website Data continuously collects information such as YouTube and web search history. You can go to Google’s activity settings and turn on “Automatic Deletion” to manage your information.

Google also has a form where you can request that the search engine remove specific search results or information. If you submit a case for data removal, the search engine will update its results.

Data broker opt-out

Companies like PeopleFinder and Spokeo are tasked with collecting information from people. and selling to interested parties, including advertisers.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse created a database of 231 data brokers in the United States that includes information on whether the company allows you to opt out. According to PrivacyBee, this is “possibly the most impactful step” in the process.

Delete and clean up old accounts

Another important step is to delete your social media accounts like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, Linkedin, Snapchat, Reddit and Tumblr as well as other shopping, dating and ridesharing sites like Amazon, Bumble and Uber to NordVPN.

Then comes the hard part – websites. Close your own websites and then delete any forums you have used. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding these websites, as is your email account.

Go through all the accounts you’ve ever signed up for using any of your email. You can then delete and remove created posts and profiles. Even if you don’t delete your account, it’s important to delete all old messages and posts. The final step in this process would be deleting your email accounts.

Hire someone to do the dirty work

It takes a lot of time and effort to delete yourself from the internet. Fortunately, there are paid services that can do the work for you.

Here are five data removal providers:

  • OneRep ($8.33 per month).
  • DeleteMe ($10.75 per month).
  • BrandYourself ($9.99 per month).
  • Safe Shepherd (From $8.33 per month).
  • ReputationDefender ($0.95 per month).

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