In our interconnected world, almost everyone knows something about everyone else. So, if you want to find out what a particular celeb was wearing, what places they frequent, or any of their recent scandals, a basic search online is likely to get the desired results. Easy-peasy, right?
Welcome to the information age, where a person’s data is easily available. But how does this information get there and become so easily available? Well, here is a simple explanation: every time you create an account on shopping sites, social platforms, or search for information online, that data is stored on the Internet. With time, the information about you that is gathered by various sites, taken as a whole, becomes comprehensive enough that when someone searches for you on the Internet, they will find a few things about you such as your shopping and spending habits, geographical location, and entertainment preferences, as well as your dating life.
But what happens when you realize that you have shared too much information online? Is it possible to delete yourself from the Internet?
The basic, blunt truth is that deleting everything about you from the Internet is almost impossible, but you can take several steps to protect yourself from stalkers, identity theft, and privacy violations by reducing the information available to the public.
Enlist Google to help remove some of the info
Normally, Google will not help to remove your information but there are several exceptions to the rule. If you find information that you consider copyrighted to you posted, you can request Google to delete it in accordance with the copyright violation rules that fall under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA ).
Apart from using the DMCA approach, you can request Google to remove outdated information by pasting the URL of the page with the outdated data, going to the Remove Outdated Content page and selecting the Request Removal option. Alternatively, you can use the legal justice system to get Google to take down specific data.
Delete social media accounts
Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and LinkedIn, hold a lot of information about you. These sites have your photographs, posts, comments, and geographical locations, which can pose many risks in the hands of unscrupulous people. If you feel the information out there on social media is working against you, you can consider deleting the accounts.
Close your email, shopping and webservice accounts
Closing your email account and deleting your shopping and webservice accounts are some of the drastic measures you might have to take in order to remove yourself from the internet as these sites serve some practical needs. However, there is no shortcut to deleting yourself from the Internet unless you get rid of this info by closing these accounts.
That said, in spite of your best efforts, it may not be possible to completely delete yourself from the Internet, as some information about you is still likely to remain in obscure websites you used and forgot. In addition, instructing Google and other websites to delete your information or close accounts on certain websites does not mean they will do it overnight.
In short, it is almost impossible to completely delete yourself from the Internet, however, if you feel the need to remove yourself as much as possible from the Internet, the above steps will get you at least part of the way there.