When someone searches for your name, they can find a lot of information about you. Sometimes this will be information that you want others to find like a link to your personal website or Twitter account. But in some bad cases, they can find out your phone number or where you live. So you need to delete your personal data.
Fortunately, there is a way to erase your personal data. In this article, I will show you how to remove personal data from public records.
Which websites will collect your personal data?
Sites like address listings and background checks are very popular. You’ll find sites like Whitepages.com, which list the personal information of many people in the US (In the UK, 192.com is similar).
Usually, these sites have some publicly available information. The sites will then start charging if you want to access more information, such as the full address.
In addition to public profile websites, search engines and social media companies also have a lot of information about you.
Your available information on the net
These websites may collect a variety of information about you, including:
- Your name.
- Your current home address.
- Property like you own some houses for example.
Some websites even have access to more sensitive data, such as your social security number (identification number).
What happens when you publicize your personal information?
If a hacker gets hold of this information, you’ll be blamed for theft, online fraud, SIM swapping, and other cyberattacks. The more people who can access your personal information, the easier it is to impersonate you or target you.
If you are concerned about privacy, you should delete your personal data. This is especially important if you want to avoid being tracked or harassed.
How to delete personal data from the Internet
In the past, it would have been very difficult for you to delete personal data from these websites. Often, they’ll ask for nasty things like print and post proofs, or even ask you to send a fax.
But now, thanks in part to EU data control laws, websites must offer you a reasonable way to delete your personal data. Even if you live outside the EU, a website must allow you to delete your personal data if it operates within Europe.
Here are three helpful ways to remove your personal data from public records.
1. Erase your traces on social networks
Facebook and Twitter are the two platforms you should pay the most attention to. Luckily, Facebook has a feature where you can even bulk delete your old posts.
How to do that:
- Log in to your Facebook account and click on your name to go to your profile.
- Click Manage posts, below where you create a new post.
- Use Filter to arrange the articles as you like.
- Select the posts you want to delete.
- Click next.
- On the next page, select Delete posts and press Done.
All selected posts will be deleted after a few seconds.
Twitter, in contrast to Facebook, does not offer any feature to delete old tweets. You can use third-party tools like TweetDelete and Tweet Deleter to delete tweets.
2. Delete old emails and email accounts
Old emails in your account contain a lot of sensitive information that can be used against you. To protect yourself, it’s a good idea to delete old emails that you haven’t used in years.
But what if you suddenly need them in the future again? If you’re worried about that, just download that email account to your hard drive. Anyway, it will be much safer than before.
If you can afford it, pay for an encrypted email service. ProtonMail and Tutanota are good options that you should consider.
3. Ask data brokers to delete your profile
An online data broker is a company that collects your personal information, including where you live, your gender, and your date of birth. They also have more private information, such as information about your partner, how many children and more.
This helps them build a more realistic profile of you for marketing and advertising purposes, which they eventually sell to other companies.
Fortunately, you can delete your personal data from such websites. All you have to do is email them. Here are some of the most common crawling sites:
Most popular brokers will not completely erase your personal data if you ask them. You should also be careful as sometimes, data brokers will ask for more of your information during the data deletion process. You should only provide information that the site already has.
You can also hire some companies to delete your personal data if you don’t have time. For a service fee, they’ll clean up the mess for you. But I don’t see anyone doing this in Vietnam. So have you deleted your personal data yet?