It often happens that out of sheer curiosity you key in your name on Google just to check what information it carries about you for the general public to see. You may be somewhat surprised, if not irritated to see that a lot of wrong or obsolete information about you is being projected on the screen. This can send out a lot of wrong signals to prospective employers if you’re a job hunter or to others also. But be warned that removing yourself completely from the Internet isn’t possible. You can only minimize your footprints online. Here’s how to erase yourself from the Internet.
Delete Social Network, Shopping, & Other Online Service Accounts
First make a list of all social networks that carry your profile. In case you have profiles on the relatively smaller sites like Google+, Tumblr or MySpace, apart from the bigger ones like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can do away with the former. Just locate your account settings and look options to deactivate, delete, or close your account. This is usually available under Privacy or Security. Use the following links for detailed instructions on how to delete your social media accounts.
If deleting the account becomes impossible, change the account’s information by inserting jumbled material or something completely random. You may also use services like DeleteMe to remove yourself from the Internet.
Withdraw from Sites that Collect Data
Certain data broking companies collect information on the sly from any online activity of yours. They then sell the data to any interested party that advertises its products and intends selling to you.
Try and locate such data brokers and visit each site individually and get your name erased if you find it there. You can take the help of a service like DeleteMe which will take care of these things for you at the cost of a one-year subscription. It’ll also check periodically to ensure that your name hasn’t been added back.
Remove Your Personal Information Directly
First, contact your cell provider or phone company to ensure you aren’t listed with them online. If listed, ask them to erase your name. In case you want to have something undesirable removed, you need to contact the individual webmaster of these sites.
Take a look at the site’s Contacts or About Us sections to locate the person to be contacted or visit www.whois.com, searching for the domain name you want to get in touch with to get the information. However, private site operators have no legal obligation to erase your posts.
So politely state why you want the information to be erased and hopefully, they’ll oblige. If you act like Mossi though in Let’s Be Cops, do not expect too much cooperation!
Erase All Personal Information
If sensitive information like the number of a bank account or a Social Security number has been posted, while the site’s webmaster won’t erase it, a legal request may be sent to Google on your part for the same. Google’s legal powers are greater and may work to get such personal information erased from a somewhat stubborn site. This could, however, take time and there are no guarantees of its success. It’s just an option that you may try and which may work if you’re lucky.
Eliminate Obsolete Search Results
Google’s tool for URL removal is handy to erase any evidence of embarrassing informant displayed on the Instant in the past. For instance, this could be a webpage containing your personal information that you’d like eliminated like a former employer’s staff page, long after you’ve left the job.
On your request, they do the needful, yet when your name is Googled, the page continues to appear in the search results. This is despite the fact that when the link is clicked, your name doesn’t appear anywhere. This implies that the page’s old version is cached somewhere on a Google server.
This is where the Google tool has a crucial role to play. Send the URL to Google for updating its servers to delete the search result that’s cached so that your association with the page no longer exists. However, do bear in mind that Google provides no guarantees that it will remove such cached information. It’s worth a try, though.
Remove Email Accounts
This requires careful consideration before execution as deleting an email ID could lead to communication problems later. The process of deletion also depends and varies on the email account type. First, you need to sign into your account and then locate options for deleting or closing the account. These accounts, however, remain open for a certain span of time making it possible for reactivation if you want to. Here are some useful guides on how delete various email accounts.
How to Delete Yourself from the Internet – Wrap Up
The basic thing to remember while trying to vanish from the Internet is that it’s a time consuming process and can’t be completed in a single day. Moreover, come to terms with the fact that permanent deletion is not possible. You can try your best to have much of your personal data removed, but traces will continue to exist, no matter what.