These 5 privacy tools help you remove your personal information from the internet. It’s a process but can be a worthwhile way to prevent identity theft.
It’s not so easy to remove yourself from the internet! Our world is filled with data and that makes it quite challenging to find and delete personal information.
But you may want to make an effort to Completely remove yourself from the Internet, as hackers can do a lot of damage with only a little information. For example, did you know that Packers can access your bank accounts and clean them out completely, using only your phone number?
Think about it: your phone number is almost like your Social Security number. You use it when you sign up for retail accounts, shipping updates and more. You likely use two-factor authentication to protect your online accounts, which means that anyone who has your phone number can intercept those codes to drain your bank accounts!
The most reliable path to pure privacy protection is to reduce your digital footprint online, so that your personal information is found in as few places as possible. Here’s how to remove yourself from the Internet with five powerful privacy tools.
Can you really remove yourself from the internet forever?
Yep! But it certainly isn’t easy. And it will take time. The truth is that the information may be deleted once, but can easily pop up again. Remember, the only real way to delete yourself from the Internet permanently is to never use the Internet. That’s not practical for most, so it comes down to practicing good data hygiene.
You’ll also need to continuously monitor your personal information to be sure that it hasn’t been exposed in one of the latest data breaches.
How to remove yourself from the internet
#1: Remove yourself from data brokers
What are data brokers? These for profit entities exist to buy and sell personal information to the highest bitter. These companies aggregate data from a variety of sources, pull them together into segments, and then sell those segments to other companies for marketing.
Data brokers are everywhere. While they are an inescapable fact of our modern consumer life, you can remove yourself from data brokers by going to each individual company and asking them to delete your data.
Unfortunately, you need to make these manual opt-out requests periodically. That’s because companies usually only delete the data that they currently have about you. It’s difficult to prevent them from tracking you in the future.
That’s one of the reasons why we built Privacy Bee, our privacy protection service. We know how insidious these data brokers have become. By creating a service to handle data removal requests on behalf of consumers, we wanted to re-balance the scales in favor of ourselves, the users.
Here’s how Privacy Bee works:
- Sign up for an account
- Give us an extremely limited power of attorney to advocate on your behalf to data brokers
- Once logged into your dashboard, select the data brokers that you want us to remove from
- Go about your day. We’ll take it from here!
More details are in our guide on how to remove yourself from data brokers.
#2: Remove yourself from social media
Gulp. This one is tough for many people to swallow. To truly protect your privacy online, you’re going to need to remove yourself from social media. Be brave! It could be a good thing.
Before you take the leap and delete your social media accounts, check out Jumbo Privacy. It’s an app that will help you protect your data in case you want to access it in the future. Or, you may simply want to change your privacy settings to be a bit more restrictive so that hackers can’t access it easily.
Here’s how Jumbo Privacy works:
- Download the app
- Connect your various online accounts
- Review recommendations
- Archive social media posts
Jumbo Privacy will maintain your archives so you don’t lose your past content. We recommend syncing with a cloud storage service to preserve access in case you uninstall the app.
Once you’ve done that, you can go into each of your individual social media accounts and delete. Your content will be preserved and you will have successfully removed yourself from social media.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to remove yourself from social media completely.
#3: Remove yourself from people search sites
People search sites make money by selling background checks to anyone willing to pay. It’s actually pretty creepy. Just try it for yourself: Go to one of the sites listed below, and search for one of your old high school friends. Most likely, you’ll be able to learn all kinds of private information about that person. Of course, that means that anyone else can easily find your personal information online!
Here are some of the largest people search sites:
Here at Privacy Bee, we will also remove your data from some of the most popular people search sites
#4: Remove your fingerprints from your devices
One of the sneakiest ways that data brokers and businesses use your personal data to make money is by tracking around the Internet. they do this with a technique called browser fingerprinting, in which they use your browser’s unique configuration to identify and track your online behavior.
Your browser is tracked based on:
- Which browser you use
- Which version of that browser you use
- The extensions that you have installed
- Your IP address
- Your geo-location
They can even track you across devices, as each device has its own unique fingerprint. This is called device fingerprinting; and it’s even harder to shake, as each device comes with its own code. Most device owners can’t reset it or otherwise cloak their identity.
Once a commercial company has that code, it can be incredibly difficult to shake them off your tail. Any time you visit a website, it will log your device ID. With enough sleuthing (and a bit of artificial intelligence), entities connect that website visit with your demographic profile, such as where you live, what you do for work, and how much money you make.
To prevent companies from connecting the dots between different data sources, it’s imperative that you confuse them by preventing browser fingerprinting, which can put a wrench in device fingerprinting.
Start with EFF’s Cover Your Tracks, a browser fingerprint checker that shows you how unique you are. The goal is to be within a sliver of a percentage of online browsers so that you aren’t easily traced. Use what you learn here to reduce exposure to common characteristics and make
Then install EFF’s Privacy Badger to prevent trackers from scarfing up your personalized breadcrumbs all around the web. The extension will block all trackers — including invisible ones — so that your behavior won’t become a profile that can be used to chase you around the web.
#5: Remove yourself from corporate databases
Can you even begin to remember how many newsletters, retail accounts, or other password/email/address combinations that exist out there in the world?
Every time you sign up for a newsletter, make an account or buy something online, you leave your personal data exposed. That info just sit out there waiting to be bought and sold by corporations or stolen by hackers.
And, since companies can buy and sell data from data brokers, that means that they are able to create profiles about you even if you have never had a relationship with them. That means there are countless companies out there that have your personal information Without you even knowing it!
Every time a hacker breaches a corporate database, your data is at risk. To prevent these types of risks, actively request removal of your personal information from corporate marketing databases.
Streamline this process and download the Privacy Bee Chrome extension To set your privacy preferences as you browse the Internet. With one-click privacy management, the entire process is streamlined and much easier. As you can see below, you’ll be able to set your privacy preferences as your browse the web. Those preferences can then be found later on your Privacy Dashboard.
The best company to delete personal information from the internet
Unfortunately it’s not easy to maintain your data privacy in our digital world. As you’ve seen, there are many ways that your personal information can end up in the hands of the wrong people. And protecting your privacy isn’t as simple as sending a single email or updating settings in one place.
At Privacy Bee, we’re trying to change the narrative. We’ve built our dashboard as a single spot for you to manage your privacy preferences with a single click. When you visit a website, click the Privacy Bee icon in your browser to tell us how you’d like that company to handle your data. We will then do our best to get the company to comply with your preferences!
You can refine your preferences across three privacy tiers:
- Active relationship: A more permissive privacy settings for companies that you interact with regularly, allowing them to retain your personal data.
- Neutral relationship: Middle-of-the-road privacy settings for companies that you may want to interact with periodically.
- No relationship: The most restrictive privacy setting for companies you do not have a relationship with and that you don’t want to keep your personal information.
We feel like we have built the best privacy protection service. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. We have an ambitious roadmap and we hope that you will try us out and evaluate if we are indeed among the best companies to remove personal information from the Internet!
You may also find value in our guide on how to remove your name from internet search engines.