Originally posted at NordVPN by Malcolm Higgins
Can you delete yourself from the internet? We all know it’s possible to wipe our browser history or deactivate a social media account, but how far can you go? This guide will take you through all the necessary steps to erase your online presence.
How to remove personal information from the internet
If you’ve been using the internet for years, untangling your information from the Web won’t be easy. When you share something online, you usually give up control of that piece of data. It may still belong to you, but it’s very difficult for you to limit who has access to it and what it’s used for.
The first step will be to understand what’s out there so you know what you’ll have to scrub away to disappear.
Data scraping: There’s now a whole industry built around “data scraping” — companies will take the information you put online, store it in databases, and then sell it on to other businesses and organizations. Deleting your data from their databases may be very difficult or impossible, but we’ll discuss a few potential methods below.
Old accounts: It’s easy enough to track down and delete, anonymize or hide accounts you use every day. But what about old accounts on forgotten or defunct sites? Will you be able to delete them all – if you can even find them?
Caching: Let’s say you delete a page with information about yourself. It may still take a while before mentions of that page (and your data) disappear from search engine results. That’s because that data may be stored in their caches for quick access when people search for you.
Internet scrubbing is a challenge, but it’s not impossible and it is your right. We’ll go over everything step by step…
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