Opt Out Websites
Ever conduct a web search on yourself? Try it. You’ll be amazed the amount of information the internet knows about you. How did they gather so much data about your life? Likely, it is because you inadvertently shared those details. We do it all the time, to win something free, to gain access to that cool app, to connect with friends on a social media platform.
Truth is, the old adage still applies. Nothing IS truly free. Marketers gather as much detail as they can about you in order to encourage a desired action, usually to motivate you to buy their products. In the meantime, all that data is collected, stored and spilled out to the internet. Often, it is shared for profit.
Delete unused or unwanted social media or shopping profiles
Still have a MySpace account? Are you SURE? How about that one time you ordered shoes from that site back in 2006. Are they still sending you emails? Chances are they are still tracking you. If you cannot easily find where to delete your account on a particular service, try using Google by searching “how to delete [site/service]”. Even if you can’t delete your account, you can conceal your information in the account by changing it to something other than your own info (i.e. name = Monster, Cookie. Address = 123 Fake Street)
Remove yourself from sites directly
Still have a blog on the web? Still have embarrassing posts you’d like to remove? You may have to ask nicely, but some web operators will oblige these requests. The first step is to look on each website. Visit www.whois.com to figure out who you should contact.
Remove yourself from sites that collect or serve data about you
There are companies out there called “data brokers” that collect or serve information about you. You may get them to omit your information through a formal process they provide. Accomplishing this may involve manual tasks like faxing, signing and scanning. A few sites you should try:
Remove your personal information from Google
If a web operator refuses to remove your personal information from their site, you can report that request through Google.
Subscribe to a removal service
Luckily, the internet contains some useful sites that can assist you in removing personal data from basic searches. Many exist, though some charge monthly of annual fees. The FCC is good place to start.
Utilize browser masking technology
The internet is, metaphorically, a living, breathing thing. New data about you is uploaded continuously. It is a good practice to conduct a search on yourself every few months, and to scrub any details you wouldn’t like shared with others. Find out more about securing browsers here.