This article covers a simple process to remove your personal information from the internet. In the era of digitization, the internet knows more about us than the people we live with. Almost every website you visit saves your information in one way or another. Social media and other engaging websites track your personality traits and other habitual information based on your activity on the platform whereas other websites track your internet history, IPs, credit card details, and other financial information.
To be clear, there isn’t any “Clean Slate” program to instantly delete your existence from the internet, as per my information at least. There are two main places where your personal data is saved; in the database of the websites where you feed your information and data brokers (yep they exist) who collect or buy personal data from various sources. In order to remove delete your personal information from the internet, you have to remove your data from both these places. So, let’s see how you can do that.
Remove Your Personal Information from the Internet
To remove your personal information from the internet, you have to delete your data from wherever it is present. And for that, you have to visit every website you might have added your information to. Also, you have to check the data brokers and delete your data from there if present. It’s a long time-consuming process but there are two websites that can help you with that.
DeleteMe is a service that offers you a simple and quick method to get your information off the internet. This is a subscription-based service that automatically removes your data from various website databases all around the globe including data brokers. DeleteMe also has a DIY guide that you can follow to remove your information yourself. The DIY guide covers most requested data broker opt-outs and platforms along with step-by-step instructions to remove your data from the respective source.
Some of the data brokers ask to enter an email address in order to remove your data and there is no meaning to use your email address there. So, you can use create a temporary email address for that. Also, most data brokers identify temporary email addresses in that case, you can use other mail services like Mail, GMX, etc.
SimpleOptOut is another website that can help you out with the process of removing your data from the internet. This website has links to opt-out of 60+ online services covering retail, banking, credit cards, media, social media, data brokers, and so on. With this website, you can opt-out from data collection and delete your data from Adobe, Ancestry.com, American Express, Apple, AT&T, Casper, Choice Hotels, Comcast Xfinity, Costco, Disqus, Facebook, Google, HBO, Home Depot, Hulu, LinkedIn, MetLife, National Geographic, Netflix, NYTimes, PayPal, Reddit, Twitter, Wells Fargo, Woodcraft, Yelp, YouTube, and many more.
The website gives you a list of all the platforms it currently supports and offers instructions with links to opt-out from the data collection. While you opt-out from a data collection, you can delete your existing data on your way out.
Removing your personal information from the internet is not an easy task. But these websites are trying to make it as feasible as possible. Although there is no way to completely stop the collection and monetization of personal data, you can reduce the number of your personal gets collected. Apart from these websites, you can take other precautions to minimize your personal data collection by using the privacy-focused search engines, and other services if possible.