While some people have no qualms about sharing their lives with people online, others prefer to be isolated from social networks and other online sites. The problem then becomes, how can anyone remove existing information from online sources? The short answer is, it’s hard. However, there are steps anyone can take to minimize, if not remove totally, their online presence. For some, removing Internet information is only one component of Getting Off The Grid. Others are concerned about the overwhelming amount of data stored about them in different venues. Those concerns are addressed by taking a few specific steps.
1. Close all online shopping accounts.
Vendors store a great deal of information about their customers. Deleting the accounts will leave some information stored, but will eliminate any additional data collection. Even online banking and bill paying accounts will need to be deactivated to stop data from accumulating.
2. Get off social media sites.
Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest may be entertaining to visit and participate in, but those sites collect an incredible amount of data about users. Delete as much information as possible and close the accounts.
3. Delete your information from sites dedicated to marketing.
That is often difficult, as users may not be aware of which organizations are actually collecting data about them. Services like DeleteMe will, for a fee, take care of deleting information from a variety of data collection sites.
4. Delete as many search engine results as possible.
Again, not all information can be deleted easily as website owners are under no legal obligation to take down information they’ve accumulated. However, many will cooperate when asked to do so.
5. Delete all email accounts.
Since accomplishing numbers one through four require email use, never delete all email accounts until all other goals are reached. For those with multiple email accounts, it is safe to delete all but one account.
Becoming more anonymous is not a simple task. However, anyone seeking to get off the grid, or simply enjoy life without the Internet, can make themselves more invisible to prying eyes. Since eliminating information from the Internet is time-consuming, start doing so as early as possible.