7 steps to erase yourself from the Internet
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Have you ever searched for yourself on Google? It may sound strange, but it’s actually a great way to discover a small part of what the web knows about us. And, more importantly, it’s the only way we know if we have to ask Google to remove relevant personal information that shouldn’t be shared publicly. Deleting yourself from the Internet can be a difficult task.
In April 2022, Google added new options to remove personally identifiable information, including government identification numbers or photos, bank details, contacts, personal information, and specific data such as medical records, from its search engine. Naturally, Google will not remove personal data contained in news articles or public record databases.
Deleting yourself from the Internet can be an arduous task
The function adds to the already existing option to request the deletion of content from the search that can be used for any type of damage, such as non-consensual pornographic content, images of minors or copyright violations. For residents of the European Union, Google already complied with article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulationthe right to deletion, which obliges all companies in the EU to delete the personal data of people who request it.
So how can you try to erase yourself from the internet?
Once something is on-line, there is no absolute way to remove it. That is why it is so difficult to get off the Internet. But there are some things you can do to clean up your online presence.as indicated ESET, the leading cybersecurity company:
- Search yourself on Google. First you have to know everything the Internet knows about you. Search for your name, check the results on the first five pages and combine the name search with your phone number or home address to see what comes up.
- Check the privacy settings of the services you use. Some platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, have an option in your privacy settings that allows you to protect your content and contacts from appearing in search engines.
- Contact the owner of the website. If you want to remove a specific mention on another webpage, be sure to ask the website owner. Most websites offer their contact information in the section of “Contact”.
- Eliminate the unnecessary. Many of us share too muchto information. If you’re worried about what the whole world knows about you—and it should be—start by deleting old Facebook messages, tweets, photos from when you were 17, or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable. And if you know that privacy is important to you, it is also important to your friends and family, so delete any photos in which they appear with you.
- Think before you share. So now that you’ve gone through all those stages, it’s time to plan ahead. Your virtual life continues. Maybe you want to continue to be on Instagram, LinkedIn or any other social network and that’s fine. But go further check your privacy preferenceschoose wisely who can see your posts and avoid sharing unnecessary content which you may later regret.
- Use a VPN. Is extra layer of protection will make sure your connection is encrypted and your location masked.
“If you are concerned about your privacy and have a limited social media presence, you may be able to remove most of your digital footprint. On the contrary, if your data is everywhere, it is highly unlikely that you can reduce your digital footprint in a meaningful way. Surely your friends have posted photos of you on their beads and you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve used your email address and phone number to log in to various websites and apps, not to mention all data relating to your online activity that those services sell to third parties, having previously given your consent. Nevertheless, it is It is very likely that you still have time to limit what people or companies can check about you. This is extremely important, not just for privacy in generalbut also to avoid the harm that could be caused by exposing your religious, political or personal convictions in public space”, declares Joseph Albors, director of research and CESET Spain awareness.
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