Despite what you may believe, whenever you enter a website, register for an account, buy anything, send a message, or view search engine results, you are sharing information about yourself. If you find this unsettling, you might be interested in finding out more about how to erase your online tracks.
Four suggestions for taking yourself off the web
Although many individuals have been aware that businesses, particularly social media platforms, have been collecting and selling user data for years, it wasn’t until the latest Cambridge Analytica-Facebook bombshell that it became widely recognised.
This “scandal” is but one illustration of how utilising the internet may put your privacy at danger. Over the past five years, almost all of the main social network have been compromised in some way, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.
You must start managing your internet appearance immediately if you have several online accounts. It might be difficult to remove personal information and hide up online traces, but there are certain doable actions you can do.
- Look within
The first step is to conduct a Google search for yourself. Start by performing a name-only search. If your name is generic, you might need to look for additional qualifying elements in addition to your name (such as the city you live in).
These searches will not only make you aware of how much information there is, but they will also give you a sense of the terrain. In other words, it informs you of how much work remains.
Your social media accounts should be deleted.
Your social network accounts need to be deleted, which is the most crucial step. You can frequently find a lot of information about yourself on profiles on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Rather than deactivate, the key is to erase.
Security Baron notes that Facebook “particularly offers choices for both deactivation and deletion.” “Deactivation keeps your account accessible in case you need to visit the website right away. As long as you don’t check in within the two-week rapid reactivation period, deletion starts the process of erasing your saved data and stops Facebook from accessing it.
Make sure you study up on the method for really removing your data because sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram have similar policies.
- Speak with webmasters
You must get in touch with the website’s owner if you discover information about you that has been posted online, such as in a news article or blog. They will typically need to physically erase the content. You don’t really have much control.
- Exit Websites That Collect Data.
Many businesses gather your information online and sell it to ads and other interested parties. Spokeo, PeopleFinder, and Whitepages.com are a few of the more well-known ones.
It is feasible to go to each of these sites individually and request that your information be deleted, but it is a somewhat laborious procedure. Each website has its own distinct policy. Some demand that you fax over actual paper documents, while others demand that you pick up the phone.
Eric Franklin writes for CNET, “Anyway, using a service like DeleteMe at Abine.com is an easier way to do it.” The service will help you navigate all of those tedious hurdles for roughly $130 for a one-year subscription. It will even check.
Bringing Everything Together
The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal, recent data breaches, and an increase in cyberattacks are concerning because they demonstrate how little control an individual has over their data, online activities, and personal information once they relinquish control. There is also reason to think that what we are seeing now is only the top of the iceberg. After then, it would be wise to really dig in and concentrate on how you can safeguard yourself going ahead.
Although it’s hard to completely erase your online history or presence, you can take significant steps to reduce the amount of information that is accessible to the public and it is well worth the effort.