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    How to remove personal information from the internet

    Your shopping habits, your family members’ names, even your salary is out there for anyone to see. But you can take back control.

    Zac Freeland/Vox

    How to erase your personal information from the internet (it’s not impossible!)

    Your shopping habits, your family members’ names, even your salary is out there for anyone to see. But you can take back control.

    By Zoe Schiffer Sep 11, 2019, 3:46pm EDT

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    The internet knows my age and home address. It knows how much I make and what I do for work. It knows when I last voted (2018!) and who I voted for (RIP). Recently, I got married in a supposedly secret ceremony at city hall. The internet found out before my mother.

    I didn’t willingly share this information, but I’m not at all surprised that it’s online. Personal data — the searches, photos, purchases, locations, and Facebook messages that populate digital identities and fuel the attention economy — is the internet’s favorite currency. It’s also becoming impossible to control.

    That’s partly because the US lacks substantial data-privacy legislation. You’re not really protected against rampant data brokering on “background check” sites like Whitepages and BeenVerified, which scrape public records and compile information — like your home address and phone number — and make them painfully visible.

    And yes, when we sign up for Instagram or order our dinners on Caviar, we might technically be voluntarily signing away our rights, but what other choice do we have? Privacy policies are tailor-made to obscure their murky contents, and few of us take the time to read the terms of service. Plus, “if you want complete control — if you want to opt-out, you’re going to lead a very limited life,” says Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Recently, data privacy landed in the spotlight when Russia-based photo-editing app Faceapp admitted that it was collecting metadata on user photos. The story resulted in Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calling for an FBI probe, but such practices are common in Silicon Valley.

    Social media is, after all, just a small piece of the data puzzle. “We really have two forms of digital selves,” explains Jen King, director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. “One is basically all the data that companies collect on us — that’s what you find in the hands of data brokers. The other is the one you construct, the one we curate and spend a lot of time trying to control. The two things overlap, but one is controlled by you and the other is not.”

    As New York Times tech columnist Brian X. Chen recently discovered, even something as innocuous as a phone number can be used to reveal where you live, who you’re related to, and whether or not you’ve ever been arrested. This information can also be used to breeze past security questions used to secure online accounts.

    This is bad — very bad — for physical safety. In 2014, video game designer Zoe Quinn was forced to move out of her house when trolls began posting photos of her apartment alongside graphic death threats — part of a harassment campaign known as Gamergate. “Your typical middle-class white guy living in Santa Clara might think, ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen to me?’ But vulnerable populations,” such as women and minorities, Galperin says, “are always the canaries in the coal mine.”

    “People assume privacy is about how you communicate to another individual. They forget it also involves the extent to which you’re being tracked and surveilled online,” adds King. “In the US right now, I don’t know if there’s a good way to opt out. It’s really, really tough. But I haven’t given up hope that there will be federal-level change.”

    Given the scale of the problem and the difficulty of staying completely offline, digital privacy is more important than ever before. How can you get it back? I posed the question to security researchers, reputation managers, and privacy advocates. Here’s their best advice for trying to erase yourself — either a little or a lot — from the internet.

    Start with a quick Google search

    Before you can get a handle on digital privacy, you first have to understand what is out there. Start by Googling yourself with your browser in private or “incognito” mode — which prevents some tracking and autofilling from your own internet use — and look for social media profiles and data brokers. (Google and its popular Chrome browser hold a wealth of data, too.) This will allow you to see what a stranger would find if they began looking for your information online. For most of us, social media profiles populate the first few search results on Google.

    Next, find the data brokers. These companies scrape information from public records and compile it into a database. Then, as the name might suggest, they sell it. (This is technically legal, though shady.) Oftentimes, they’ll have things like your birthday, phone number, home address, salary, as well as names of neighbors and family members. This information can be used to hack into other online accounts by giving people hints on how you might answer security questions.

    Source : www.vox.com

    How to Remove Personal Information From the Internet

    If you’re ready to help protect your online privacy, here’s how to remove personal information from the internet.

    Security Center Privacy How to Remove Personal Information From the Internet

    How to Remove Personal Information From the Internet

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    From sensitive banking information to those awkward photos you wish hadn’t been posted to the web, you probably have stuff online you wouldn’t want others to find.

    Erasing some of your personal data from the internet could lower the chances of someone finding and using it for nefarious purposes.

    If you’re ready to take steps to help protect your online privacy, here are some tips and examples of how to remove personal information from the internet.

    How can my personal information land on the internet?

    When fraudsters get hold of your information, it could lead to serious trouble. Once they obtain your full name and other personal details, they could use these together to piece together a fuller picture about you, potentially wreaking havoc on your finances, send phishing attempts, or even stalk you in person.

    Examples of personal information include:

    Details such as full name, physical address, telephone number, and education history.

    Bank account numbers and login information.

    Account credentials, such as user names and passwords, for websites.

    Health information or health insurance details.

    Identification numbers, such as a passport number or tax identification number.

    Here are four ways thieves may get your personal information.

    Data breaches

    These occur when unauthorised individuals break into databases to steal and release personally identifying information, or PII, on hard-to-find websites, usually on the dark web.

    The targeted information may include names, driver’s license numbers, medical and financial records, and email addresses and passwords.

    Data brokers

    These companies collect and sell all the data they can legally get their hands on, such as names, date of birth, telephone numbers, addresses, land records, marriage records, criminal history, social media profiles, and more. They consolidate this data from dozens of different public records, then compile it online.

    You can typically look at basic details for free or pay to get a more in-depth report.

    Social media and blogs

    Your social media accounts may contain all the pieces a cybercriminal needs to commit fraud, such as your full name, where you live and work, photos of you and your family, holiday plans, and your favorite bands and hobbies. For instance, your dog’s name is PII if it’s the answer to one of your online security questions!

    Removing social profiles and information on blogs makes it harder for fraudsters to use that data.

    Web-browsing habits

    Internet service providers and various companies can use technology called “cookies” to track your web browsing history, usually using this information to create targeted advertisements.

    However, cybercriminals could also get their hands on your search and browsing history and use it to scam you, embarrass you, or get into your financial accounts.

    Removing your personal information from the internet

    It’s a process to remove your personal information from the internet, so be patient and don’t expect to complete it in one day. Take a systematic approach, tackling one technique every week or so.

    Keep these caveats in mind: It may be impossible to permanently delete all of your info from the web. And after you remove any profiles and information, you might not surface in search results, which could put off future employers and potential love interests. But the time, effort, and absence from the web can help you protect your information and finances.

    Delete your social media accounts

    Make a list of the social media accounts you keep. Visit each website, find the account settings, and look for the option to deactivate or remove the account. Depending on how much information you want to keep private, you can also delete your online banking and credit card accounts, and even your email accounts.

    If you’re having trouble, try Googling “how to delete X profile/account,” and you should find instructions for removing it. If you’re unable to close the account, replace the stored account information (such as your name and email address) with something that’s unintelligible (such as a string of random numbers and letters).

    Close or delete any blogs or personal sites

    Personal blogs may contain intimate details about your daily life, family, jobs, health information and financial situation — which is information a fraudster could use to scam you or access your accounts. If you publish a blog, be mindful of the details you’re sharing.

    If someone else has posted sensitive information about you on their website or blog, then you can contact the webmaster of the site and ask them to remove the information.

    If a website refuses to remove your info, then you can send a legal request to Google* and ask to have it removed.

    Source : uk.norton.com

    Remove your personal information from Google

    Remove your personal information from Google

    We recognize that sometimes you may want a way to remove content about you that you found on Google Search. In limited cases, Google may remove links to the information from Google Search.

    Important: Google Search shows information gathered from websites across the web. Even if we remove content from Google Search, it may still exist on the web. This means someone might still find the content on the page that hosts it, through social media, on other search engines, or other ways. This is why you may wish to contact the site’s webmaster and ask them to remove the content. Learn how to contact a webmaster.

    If the website owner has removed the information, it will eventually be removed from Google Search as part of our regular updating process. However, you can also notify us of outdated content with the Outdated Content Removal tool.

    Personal information that Google will remove

    If you are unable to have a website owner remove the content from the site, Google may remove personal information that creates significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud, or other specific harms. The following articles provide details on the types of removals that are available:

    Remove non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images from Google

    Remove involuntary fake pornography from Google

    Remove content about me on sites with exploitative removal practices from Google

    Remove select personally identifiable information (PII) or doxxing content from Google Search

    Remove images of minors from Google search results

    Remove irrelevant pornography from Google search results for my name

    We recommend that you review the removal article related to your request. If you believe your request meets the requirements on that article, you can make a removal request as directed in the article.

    Other information that Google will remove

    Google also removes content for specific legal reasons, such as DMCA copyright violation reports and child sexual abuse imagery. To request a removal for a legal reason, use the legal troubleshooter form.

    Source : support.google.com

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