Limit the online exposure of your personal data: best practices

Limit the online exposure of your personal data: best practices

Limit the online exposure of your personal data: best practices

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

It’s time to tackle the growing problem of your personal data being removed from uncontrolled online displays, and there are solutions within your reach.


Let’s face some undeniable facts about life online. We spend a lot of time with our electronic devices connected to the Internet. Websites track our activities and mobile apps go with us everywhere and track what we do. Data brokers are constantly on the lookout for things that allow them to maintain a high-risk personal profile on us.

Like it or not, that’s business. The company targets you with personalized sales pitches, harasses you with fraudulent online scams, and harvests clues about your Internet identity. According to various industry reports in recent years, over 4,000 data broker sites collect data on over 500 million consumers.

Plus, you’ve probably painted a handy picture of yourself with plenty of clues about your online identity using social media. So never doubt that your personally identifiable information (PII) is exposed to hackers and people trackers, putting your personal and financial security at risk.

This article will help you better understand the tactics of criminals to digitally track and attack you as they attempt to steal your online data and identity and make you a prime target for ransomware. Familiarize yourself with these strategies for removing your data from public record websites and other havens of online inequity.

Get rid of the internet

Typically, personal data is collected, bought and sold repeatedly. It’s hard to keep track of who owns your information, so it becomes a constant game of monitoring your data’s location, often only to find that it resurfaces somewhere new.

Information on the internet is so ubiquitous that trying to clean up your information with a broad stroke solution is nearly impossible. Search engines – Google has the biggest footprint in this regard – are constantly aggregating information about people and businesses. Add to that your social media and website presence. All this data about you makes it nearly impossible to keep your name from appearing in search results.

Many data broker sites collect your personal information, gleaning details of your life from public records and your online activity. It is good practice to periodically check for news about yourself as data, once deleted, may reappear elsewhere.

You can make the job of cleaning up your online identity more manageable by taking smaller, more focused strokes that reduce the information available about you. Do what peoplehunters do: search for your name and see what details and web sources show up in the results. Start with the biggest, Google, and make a list of where you find the most detailed dumps of data about yourself.

Then go less searchable. Begin the process with your default web browser. Go to the browser’s control panel and find the headings Data and privacy, then turn off history settings and web and app activity records. Repeat the process in all secondary browsers you use.

Review your profile details in the “About Me” sections of the apps you use and the privacy and security settings in social media apps and business listings. Consider removing as much personal and complex information as possible from what you do and say online. This includes photos and other family images, as well as applications such as Facebook and LinkedIn to restrict access to your most sensitive information.

Delete your personal data from public archive sites

The growing attention to online privacy is forcing companies to change the way companies manage and process your data. Some of the barriers and stall tactics used by data brokers and search engine companies to prevent you from extracting your personal information from their online warehouses have eased.

Here is a list of major data-collecting websites to consider targeting for suppression of information requests to protect your privacy:

You can contact these online personal information factories and ask them to delete at least some of the private information they hold about you. Sometimes you can even deny them permission to sell your information.

Often it is enough to check their websites to find their contact details to send an email to request removal. Some offer an online form to request deletion of your information.

Outside help to take control of PII

When it comes to keeping tabs on your personally identifiable information online, the more you search, the more you find. Embarking on an ironclad privacy campaign can wear down all but the most staunch defenders.

To mitigate the Lone Ranger approach, you can seek help from data deletion services. These companies use their own servers and search tools to automate the process for you. Subscribing to deletion services that constantly scan and delete private data can be a good investment.

Some data removal companies excel at doing this better than others. Beware of free services or those offering basement discounts. If you’re unhappy with the results of one company, try another. Monthly or annual fees can be great to help wipe your data off the web. Some of these data deletion services offer a free trial to give you a chance to gauge their effectiveness.

In no particular order of preference, here are some services to discover:

  • OneRep claims to remove your personal and family information from Google and over 190 other websites.
  • BrandYourself is an online reputation and privacy management company that provides solutions for individuals and businesses.
  • DeleteMe is a private information removal service that specializes in removing your personal information from Google’s vast network of search reports.
  • Incogni deals directly with data brokers, so you don’t have to spend hours protecting the display of where you live, your phone number and where you like to spend the weekend to avoid not fall into the wrong hands. It uses applicable privacy laws to force data brokers to remove your personal information from their databases.
  • Privacy Bee helps opt out of data broker databases and marketing lists.

Do-It-Yourself Privacy Options

If you’re more comfortable cleaning the web yourself, there are several websites that can help you achieve your privacy goal. Check out these handy web tools to fight your privacy campaign.

  • Mine lets you find where your personal data is on the web. This can help you reduce your online exposure to better ensure control of your data ownership.
  • Unroll.Me is a toolkit for managing the clutter that often accumulates with online subscriptions. It automates the process of managing and canceling your digital journey with the potential sharing of your contact information. Note, however, that Unroll.Me is owned by e-commerce measurement company NielsenIQ, so read their data collection and use policies when evaluating the service for privacy purposes.
  • Jumbo Privacy is a mobile app that helps you control your digital presence. It monitors the content of messages you send to limit unlimited sharing of personal data. It can be a tool to help you reduce the digital traces already shared. It constantly scans the internet for signs that your data has been compromised.
  • Just Delete Me is a website and browser extension that helps you delete your accounts from many web services. It uses a color coding system to indicate whether the removal process on a hundred web services is easy, less easy, or difficult.

We hope these tips for limiting the exposure of your personal data will help safeguard your digital experience and protect your identity, reputation and assets.


Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button