There was a time when people would look for themselves on the Internet and then brag about how many hits they got. It was the early Internet Age equivalent of being included on a Who’s Who list. But a not-so-funny thing happened along this broadband path to unlimited exposure. Too much of a good thing turned out to be not such a good thing after all!
Now that it’s reached the point where almost anybody can find out almost anything they wanted to about almost anyone, many people are searching for an escape button. If personal information has been piling up about you online for the past five to 10 years, there is bound to be some stuff that you don’t want everyone to know. It could be basic information about where you live or what your telephone numbers are, or perhaps it’s photos or content that you don’t want a current or prospective employer to eyeball.
In the absence of an Internet Relocation Program, you will have to take matters into your own hands if you want to commit “Internet suicide” by eliminating as much information about yourself as possible. Check out this article, How to Commit Internet Suicide and Disappear from the Web Forever. It gives plenty of detailed steps you can take to slide off the screens of those who want to search you out.
Depending on how much information is readily available about you online, it might require some time to get everything deleted. But if your privacy is very important to you, it will be worth taking the following five steps:
- Delete your social network accounts. The most common ones are Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and Google+, but yours might also include Yelp, Amazon, Quora and others.
- Remove unwanted search results. These might include images, articles and employer websites. You may need to contact both the sources and the search engines directly. Burying what remains is an additional option.
- Get rid of background check, criminal and public record results. After finding out what information is out there about you, you’ll probably need to pay for a service such as DeleteMe to take care of this.
- Remove any usernames attached to an email address with your name. Here you’re going to want to try to unlink your primary email address from your username wherever possible.
- Stay off search engines without going offline by remaining anonymous. Keep your real name off social networks, make a yearly audit of background check websites, create a fake identity and keep your browsing anonymous.
Have you ever tried any of these methods to limit the amount of information that can be found about you online? How about any other strategies you’ve employed? What has worked and what hasn’t? Looking forward to hearing from you about this subject.