How to Delete Yourself From the Internet

How to delete yourself from the internet

As personal data is a major concern on the Internet, consumers have a legitimate interest in controlling the flow of information and reducing the threat of identity theft. Recently, Google introduced a brand-new "Results About You" tool that enables users to ask for the removal of personal data from search results.

You can pay for an internet privacy service like DeleteMe, Kanary, and OneRep, while people search sites like Spokeo,, and Radaris have procedures that allow consumers to request removal from their database.

With so much personal data circulating publicly on the Internet, consumers have a legitimate interest in controlling the flow of information. Some are taking matters into their own hands, opting out of certain data collection sites or using paid removal services to do the cleanup for them. The depth of your privacy concerns, the amount of time and effort you're willing to invest if any, and the price you're willing to pay for privacy will all influence whether you do this and which choice you select.

Stephen B. Wicker, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University, asked, "How much do you mind having your phone number out there and people knowing you're married?"

What you should know about deleting or limiting access to your personal information on the Internet is as follows:

Identity theft and your online footprint

At issue is data collected by many online companies called data brokers, who collect consumers' personal information and often sell it to other organizations. This data can include a person's name, mailing address, birthday, names of relatives, social media, property value, occupation, and other nuggets that can be used for various scams."It functions as a mosaic tile for the aim of identity theft. The imitation can be more realistic the more tiles you have "said Adam K. Levin, a consumer lawyer who now runs a podcast about cyber security and a former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

Although not everyone is overly sensitive to the idea of their personal information being made public, there are good reasons why some people might be. This includes persons who work in law enforcement or prominent corporate roles, as well as those who have experienced harassment or stalking or are afraid of it.

Self-help tools to remove personal data

For those so inclined, there are ways to limit the amount of personal information available on the Internet. Many people search sites, such as Spokeo,, and Radaris, have procedures that allow consumers to request removal from their database.

In addition, Google recently launched a new "Results About You" tool that allows consumers to request the removal of search results that include their personal phone number, home address, or email address. While removing these results does not erase a person's contact information from the site, it is a step Alphabet has taken to mitigate the misuse of personal information.

You can also ask Google to remove certain links to other information found on Google Search. If possible, start by contacting the site owner and asking them to remove the content. Failing that, When personal information "creates a considerable danger of identity theft, financial fraud, or other specific harm," according to Google, it may be deleted. Photos of minors forced fake pornography, and non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images may fall under this category.

Disadvantages of the DIY data management approach

The downside to the DIY approach is that it requires a real-time commitment and ongoing maintenance to ensure the data doesn't resurface."You can click 'opt-out, but it's very difficult to verify that the data has been deleted from their end - and that they haven't already sold the data

to some other entity, which makes deleting private information much mo. Rahul Telang, an information systems professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said: "You can do it yourself, it's just a very time-consuming process because you have to go to each website and follow the procedures to remove yourself from the website."

Additionally, the process might need to be repeated because the information can occasionally reemerge, so it's not a one-time effort. Mike Kiser, director of SailPoint's identity security strategy and standards, compared it to "unsubscribing" from an email list in his email comments.

Payment for a subscription to cleaning websites

Some people would rather pay a firm to do it for them and provide regular updates on the process because the time and effort required to remove personal data from numerous websites would simply be too great. There are numerous such services, such as DeleteMe, Kanary, and OneRep from Abine Inc.

Depending on the provider and whether it is an individual or family plan, prices can vary, frequently from $7 to $25 per month, Kiser said. There is frequently also an annual charge.

For instance, one of the services provided by DeleteMe costs $129 per year for a single user. Kanary offers a free version of its service in addition to a paid version that costs $105 annually for a single user and $150 annually for a family plan that includes two users. OneRep provides a plan for $99.96 annually for a single user and $180 annually for six users.

It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of these services,

In part because so much personal information is in the public domain. In the FAQ section of their website, Kanary lists a removal success rate of over 70% for each user. The DeleteMe website states that an average of 2,389 pieces of personal information are found during a two-year subscription.

Before signing up for a paid service, carefully compare providers' offerings, including price, what's included, and how often the service reports its progress to customers. You can also find out if a free trial is available. Additionally, if you're using a credit monitoring service, it may also be helpful to ask if a data deletion feature is included, Levin said.

You can also see if your company pays for the service, as some employers offer it as a benefit to high-level employees, McCoy said.

American privacy laws are still weaker than in Europe

Practically speaking, it is impossible to remove every morsel of online information associated with your name. Some types of information, such as public records, are publicly available and searchable online, for example. In addition, some sites – especially those hosted outside the US – do not offer an opt-out procedure. Additionally, Wicker noted that because privacy rules are more stringent in Europe, the amount of data you may erase is significantly less in the U.S.

"The truth is that once you're outside, you're outside forever. Information can be removed, but it doesn't mean it won't still be there "explained Levin. Because of this, he suggests that users perform regular privacy audits by conducting their own Google searches or hiring a hired provider to do so. You need to stay vigilant, he continued.

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