Did you know that if you’re an internet user, some or the other personal information about you is already out there? It doesn’t have to be only your name, contact details or photograph – these are details you’ve given in your social media accounts. Your passwords, bank account details and other sensitive data are also included if you’re into online shopping.
Shocked? Well, I’m sure that you’re wondering right now what to do if your passwords are actually out there accessible by other sites. Even your name, contact details, address and photograph cannot be with anyone. However, when you get answers for so many of your questions through Google, you’ll get a solution to this problem as well.
If you wish to delete your personal information from the internet, just scroll ahead. It is possible to remove your complete identity, surfing behaviour and sensitive information about you from Google, social media and other websites.
How to Remove All My Personal Information from the Internet?
Depending on what information and how much information you have on the internet, you may take multiple days to remove all of it. Over the years, site owners have also become aware of the fact that data breaches can put you in serious trouble. This has led to the development of solutions to remove your personal information from the internet. To understand the procedure, let us first see the from where does this information come from:
- Social Media Accounts: They are one of the biggest sources of information when it comes to your name, address, contact details and photographs.
- Online Shopping Websites: This is where your credit or debit card details as well as passwords are saved. If you log in through Google or Facebook, they’ll have your personal details too.
- Email Accounts: We tend to remain signed into our browsers. If you have synced your Gmail with your browser, then every website you visit will get your information.
- Blogs: If you have a personal blog, you’ve surely given a lot of information about yourself quite deliberately. Being careful here might save you from making information freely available to hackers.
So, mainly your identity starts spreading from here. Through Google Analytics and other similar tools, all websites can track their users. Your IP address, location and surfing behaviour is available to them. So, here’s what you need to do to remove your personal information from the internet:
Tackle Your Social Media Accounts: If you have a social media account that you’re hardly using, just delete it. Else, for the ones where you’re active, you need to go to your privacy settings and ensure that none of your entire profile is private. None of your information should be visible to the public.
Check Your Information on Your Blogs: If you have your personal information in your blog, remove at least your personal contact details, address and any other information your readers don’t need. In fact, it is better to have a pen name and a unique picture in your profile than your actual name and photograph.
Delete Your Accounts and Apps that You Are Not Using: All the websites and mobile apps can track our information. The best way to get rid of them is deleting your account from them first and then deleting the entire app. This is applicable for apps that you may have stopped using with time.
Remove Your Browsing History and Prevent Cookies: Your browsing history does give away your search behaviour, especially if it is synced with your account. Remove the information, sign out from there and prevent cookies tracking from websites. Use the incognito window of Google Chrome for this.
Contact Professionals to Remove Your Information from Other Sites: Your information lies with several companies already through regular web surfing. This can be tackled by certain professionals who help you track down every site that has your personal information and gets it removed.
How to Remove Your Personal Information from Google?
Any of your personal information that is available to the public is also there on the Google search results page. In order to remove your personal information from Google search, here’s what you can do:
Tackle Your Social Media Account: You need to ensure that all the information in your social media account is private. Not only that, you should not be a part of any public post, directly or indirectly. If you’re not using an account, delete it than going through the hassle. If going private is not possible, change the information in the pages so that you do not appear in the results pages.
Contact the Website Owner: You need to contact the owner of the site who has made your personal information public on Google. You’ll find these contact details on the “Contact Us’ section or can search it on Google itself. Ask them to do so directly.
Now, if you do not wish to take the above step, or have already done so but haven’t got results, here the alternative solution:
Contact Google’s Webmaster Directly: Google saves you from people who make your private information public. It provides you with a form that you can fill up if contacting the webmaster has been of no use to you. You need to give them your information and the URL you want them to remove. Google will review the page and remove the URL if necessary.
Contact Other Content Removal Professionals: Usually, other content removal professionals may charge you a fee for doing so as they are faster with their job. They even provide you with complete legal assistance if necessary. So, if you feel that Google will take too long or it has not approved the removal, you can resort to these paid solutions.
How to Get Your Address Removed from the Internet?
Is your personal address visible along with your identity details on the internet? If yes, you’d probably want it removed.
Now, where do you think your address is coming from? Usually, we do provide our own information on the net to a site we trust. However, hackers are present everywhere and just extract this data out sometimes. Or, perhaps the site you gave your address to is not so trustworthy after all.
Let’s figure out the sources from where your permanent address could be possibly leaked:
Social Media: If you have provided your address in any of your social media profiles, it might not be well protected.
Professional Listing Sites: If you’re listed as a seller or freelancer on any professional site like Fiverr, Upwork or Freelancer.com, there are slight chances of a data breach taking place, though it is not very common.
Online Shopping Sites: Usually, these are the main source from where your address can leak. This usually happens when you save your address on their site.
So, what do you do next? Let’s take a look at a step-by-step process to remove your address from the internet:
Step 1: Find the Source
The URL displaying your address on the search engine results page and the source from where the address may have been derived may not be the same. If you see your address on a website you’ve never opened before, you might need to work a little more.
Run a little search of yourself where you type your address on the search bar and find out which other URLs have it. Take note of every URL that has your address. If you can’t do it yourself, you can contact a professional content remover.
Step 2: Delete Your Address from Every Site Where You Know You Gave It
Among the URLs where you know you saved your address, delete it right away. This helps you cut off the source to some extent. Your social media profiles will not need it. If this process is not possible for a site, then you proceed to step 3.
Step 3: Contact the Website Owners
You need to remind the website owners that your personal address is not something to be displayed in public. Send them the URL and ask them to edit or delete it. If it doesn’t work, proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Go to Google’s Support Page
Google is a responsible search engine that helps you protect your privacy. They have a form which you can fill up to get unauthorized personal information of any kind removed. This is where step 1 works – you need to give them the URL that needs to be changed or removed. If this doesn’t work, resort to the last step.
Step 5: Contact Professionals
While some websites simply lack in security, many have come up with a service to protect you from those. At a certain price, you can get your personal information scanned out and removed from every URL.
How to Remove Myself from the Internet?
Now, we finally come to the point where you leave absolutely no sign of yourself with anyone out there on the web. That is, no search engine, server, browser or website will have any information of you. This is because you’re removing your very own identity from the internet.
Now, let me tell you that if you intend to do something like that, it might mean that you have to give up on a lot of sites. While you can make plenty of changes with some accounts, certain websites will make you delete your account from them than making unacceptable changes.
Here’s a better clarification to what I just said:
Your identity on the internet comes from your email, social media profiles and accounts you’ve opened on online shopping sites, professional sites and any other site where you need to create an account. Here’s where you need to delete your account and where you can change names:
Email Account: This is usually the source of your identity. The name here is editable and you can literally keep it anything. If you change it, your true identity remains hidden. Also, don’t keep a profile picture.
Social Media Profiles: Here also, you’re actually free to change your name. However, sometimes if the name appears to be a spam, your account may get suspended. This depends on the security policy of the social media platform. On a site like LinkedIn, it is better to delete your account than changing names.
Personal Blog: If you have a personal blog, make your identity mysterious for your readers. Remove your photo and keep an interesting pen name for yourself. It is the easiest way to remove your identity and be present on the site.
Online Shopping Sites: Here, you’ll have to delete your account. Even though changing names is possible, you cannot totally hide your identity. It is better to delete yourself completely.
Now, we come to the things you need to do for removing yourself from the internet completely. Once the above changes have been made, here’s what you need to do:
- Go to Google and search for the URLs that still display your identity.
- Using Google Support or professional help, get the URLs deleted or edited.
- Open your browser settings and remove your sync with the browser.
- Go to the browser history and delete everything from there – cookies, search history, everything.
On a Final Note
Usually, deleting information from the internet becomes necessary when you see weird websites displaying your personal information. When it is public, it is out there in the dark web, which can be harmful for you. Whether you wish to remove something specific or want to cut off entirely, everything is possible.
Even though you can remove your personal information from the internet by yourself, you can take professional help if the work is too much or urgent.