Is your personal information all over the internet? 7 steps to clean up your online presence | Panda Anku

While you can’t completely wipe it off the internet, you can minimize your digital footprint with a few simple steps

Have you ever searched for yourself on Google? It might sound strange, but it’s actually a great way to discover a tiny chunk of what the web knows about us. Most importantly, it’s the only way we can know if we need to ask Google to remove relevant personal information that shouldn’t be shared publicly.

In April 2022, Google added new options for removing your personally identifiable information from its search engine, including government ID numbers or images, banking information, contacts, personal information, and specific data such as medical records. Of course, Google does not remove personally identifiable information contained in news articles or public databases.

The feature complements the previously existing option to request removal of content from search that could be used for any type of harm, such as: B. Unauthorized pornographic content, images of minors or copyright infringement.

For residents of the European Union, Google has already complied with Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation, the right to erasure, which directs all companies in the EU to remove personal data from individuals upon request. The same principle applies to California’s privacy laws and states with similar regulations.

So how can you attempt to delete yourself from the internet?

Once something is online, there is no absolute way to remove it. But there are a few things you can do to clean up your online presence:

  1. Google itself. First you need to know as much as the internet knows about you. Search for your name, review the results on the first five pages, and combine the name search with your phone number or home address to see what comes up.
  2. Check the privacy settings of the services you use. Some platforms like Facebook or Twitter have an option in their privacy settings that allows you to protect your content and contacts from being displayed in search engines.
  3. Contact the site owner. If you want to remove a specific mention on another site, make sure you request it from the site owner. Most websites provide their contact information under “Contact Us”.
  4. Delete what is unnecessary. Many of us overshare! If you’re worried about what the whole wide world knows about you — and you should be — start deleting old Facebook posts, tweets, pics from when you were 17, or other slights . And if you know privacy is important to you, it’s important to friends and family too, so delete any pictures that have them next to you.
  5. Ask Google and Bing to remove your personal information. Now that you’ve done some self-cleaning, use the new tool provided by Google to remove personal information from search results. So far, Bing only allows the removal of non-consensual images or broken links and outdated content. If you are located in the EU, use Google’s “right to be forgotten” form and Bing’s search blocking request.
  6. Think before you share. Now that you’ve got all that hassle behind you, it’s time to start planning for the future. Your virtual life goes on; You might still want to be on Instagram, LinkedIn, or another social media platform, and that’s fine. But go one step further, check your privacy settings, choose wisely who can see your posts, and avoid sharing unnecessary content that you might regret later.
  7. Use a VPN. This extra layer of protection ensures your connection is encrypted and your location is masked. Most importantly, this will help prevent hackers from poking their noses into your personal information.

Does this mean you have full control over your data?

There is no easy answer. Most likely not.

But it also depends on what type of user you are. If you’re concerned about your privacy and have a limited social media presence, chances are you can erase most of your digital footprint.

On the contrary, if your data is more or less everywhere, the above goal is very unlikely. Your friends must have posted pictures of you on their feeds, and you’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve logged into various websites and apps with your email address and phone number, not to mention all the data about your online -Activity These services are sold to third parties – with your consent.

But don’t get discouraged. There’s a good chance you still have time to limit what people or businesses can verify about you. This is extremely important, not only for general privacy, but also to avoid harm that could result from disclosing your religious, political, or personal beliefs in public spaces.

Leave a Comment