How to erase yourself from the Internet and regain some privacy.
Have you ever had that strange feeling that someone is looking at you? I hate to break bad news, but there are countless tech companies, advertisers, snoopers, and enterprising hackers out there trying to get their hands on as much of your information as they can.
If you want to regain your privacy, your first step is to stop all the intrusive GPS trackers and hidden maps that you can. Tap or click for eight buried settings you need to change now.
Now is the time to see what is out there. Of course, you can do a quick Google search for your name, but that won’t float everything. Tap or click for step-by-step instructions to dig up all the gunk others can see when they search for you online.
It’s almost impossible to completely remove yourself from the web, but you can erase a bit of it if you know where to start.
The term “data collection” and Facebook go hand in hand. We know the social media giant has been following you around the web for years, and it hasn’t really paid attention to all of our private information. Once again this year, a breach has revealed information on more than 530 million users.
If you want to lock your profile, you have to navigate through a handful of menus to grab everything. Tap or click here for 10 security and privacy settings you need to change.
If you don’t want to bother with all of this, you can delete your profile. Here’s how to do it on a computer:
• Click it down arrow icon in the upper right corner.
• Click on Settings and privacy > Settings then click Your Facebook information in the left column.
• To choose Deactivation and deletion.
• Select the option to Delete account.
• Then click Continue to account deletion.
You will be asked if you want to deactivate your account or download your information. If you wish to deactivate, your information will remain available for taking. Remove:
• To choose Delete account.
• Enter your password, click on Carry on then click on Delete account.
After you delete your account, you have 30 days to log back in and restore the account if you change your mind. Keep in mind that you will also lose access to Facebook Messenger.
This Facebook-owned social media platform is all about photos, and you’d better believe yours are crawled if you have a public account. Even if yours is private, it’s hard to know exactly who can see what you’re posting unless you’re keeping a close eye on your friends list.
You won’t find the delete option here in the normal menu. Here’s how to delete this account:
• Select an option from the drop-down menu to Why are you deleting your account? and enter your password.
• Select Wipe off (Your username).
Instagram will delete your profile and your account details one month from the day you hit that delete button. You will not be visible on Instagram at this time and you will be able to reconnect before that date if you change your mind.
If you erase your online presence, don’t forget Twitter. Maybe you haven’t shared so much there, but it’s still a piece of the puzzle.
Deleting your Twitter account is easy. Log in to your computer and do the following:
• Click on Settings and privacy menu. You will find it by clicking on After in the menu on the right when you are logged in.
• Select Your accountt> DISACTIVATE your account.
• Enter your password when prompted and confirm that you want to continue by clicking the button. Account deactivation button.
Like Facebook, Twitter waits 30 days before completely deleting your account. During this time, your personal information is hidden from the public. If you log in, your account will come back in full.
As Twitter warns, even some deleted tweets may still appear in online searches.
Amazon sells everything, at great prices. Still, you probably don’t want others to see the comments and ratings you have left on products purchased from the site, your biographical information, and other interactions on the site.
Your public profile doesn’t include purchases or browsing history, but there’s still a lot to be learned from it. Here’s how to change that:
• Log in to your Amazon account. Click on Account and Lists.
• Under Ordering and purchasing preferences, Click on Your Amazon profile.
• Click on the orange box marked Edit your public profile.
• Here you will see Edit public profile and Edit privacy settings.
Click on the different options to review. You can adjust the about me section, shopping lists, wish lists, any pets you’ve added, and more. Also see the section on activities in your community.
I bet you’re thinking, “Yep, Google knows a little bit more about me.” But do you really know how much? Tap or click here for a simple way to see all the data points about you that the search giant has cataloged. You will be shocked.
Think about it. If you use Google for searching, emailing, browsing, storing photos, and watching videos on YouTube, the data flow is endless.
The first step is to clear your search history and your activity. You can also delete what you’ve told the Google Assistant, block personalized ads, and clear your information from Google Chrome.
Each of these has its own set of steps. It won’t take too long, and it’s worth doing if you value your privacy. Tap or click here to clear what Google knows about you.
You can also blur photos of your house on Google Street View.
6. People search sites
These online databases have a few names: people search sites, people search sites, people search engines, background check sites… The list goes on.
They all work the same way. They scrape publicly available social media profiles and public documents sites to compile as much information about you as possible. Go through a few and you will realize how much they know. The scariest part is that most of this information is free for anyone who decides to search for you.
How can you stop it? By law, these sites are required to delete your information if you request it. That doesn’t mean they make it easy.
CyberBackgroundChecks.com is a surprisingly accurate site. When I saw my profile, I was blown away. Tap or click to view the steps to remove your profile.
There are a ton of other people search sites out there. Tap or click to view the full list and the steps to delete your profiles.
7. Remove yourself from ancestry and genealogy websites
DNA kits sound so cool, in theory. Learn about your background and find out where you came from. But what does it mean to send your actual genetic information to a business? I don’t like the idea.
Start with FamilyTreeNow, a genealogy site that reveals more than you’d like. Tap or click for directions. Make sure you follow them carefully. You never have to pay anything to opt out of this or any other site.
Then there is 23andMe. If you no longer wish to share your private information with 23andMe, you can delete your account via the Account settings page. Here’s a big caveat: “Genetic information and / or self-reported information that you have previously provided and for which you have given your consent for use in 23andMe Research cannot be removed from ongoing or completed studies. who use this information, as indicated in any applicable study. Consent document. “
If you’ve used Ancestry.com, you can revoke access to your DNA and ask the company to delete your results. Tap or click here for the steps to follow.
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Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the largest weekend radio talk show in the country. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.