It's not quite as simple as it should be, but here are some easy-to-follow steps that should guide you properly. If you are reading this, it is very likely that your personal information is available to the public. By "public" I mean they are accessible to anyone and everywhere. To emphasize this, I present Exhibit A: Earlier this year, Facebook found itself in a crossfire when it was revealed that more than 50 million Facebook users had arrived at the hands of the English firm Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly used them for better targeting political ads for Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Although the whole story of the Cambridge situation is still illuminating - it was enough for Facebook to suspend the company from its network - the most disturbing aspect of the story is that your personal information on these free services is often available to everyone because you have accepted all sorts of burdensome options when you first signed up for these "free" services. This is why some users choose the "nuclear option" when it comes to online privacy: deleting or deactivating an account whenever and wherever possible.
So, how will your deletion from the Internet prevent these companies from obtaining your information? The short answer is that it can't. Unfortunately, you can never completely remove yourself from the Internet, but there are ways to minimize your presence, which will reduce the chances of your data being exposed. Here are some ways to do this.
However, be warned: removing information from the Internet, as I will explain, can negatively affect your ability to communicate with potential employers.
1. Delete or deactivate shopping accounts, social networks, and web services
Consider which social networks you have profiles on. In addition to the big ones like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, do you still have public accounts on sites like Tumblr, Google+ or even MySpace? What about your Reddit account? Which trading sites have you registered with? Typically, it could include information stored on Amazon, Gap.com, Macys.com, and more.
To get rid of these accounts, go to your account settings and just look for the option to deactivate, remove, or close your account. Depending on your account, you can find it under Security or Privacy or something.
If you are having problems with a particular account, try searching on the How to delete a network, followed by the name of the account you want to delete. You should find some instructions on how to delete that particular account.
If for some reason you cannot delete the account, change the account information to something other than your actual information. Something false or completely randomly selected.
2. Remove yourself from data collection sites
There are companies that collect your information. They are called data brokers and have names like Spokeo, Whitepages.com, PeopleFinder, and many others. They collect data from everything you do online and then sell that data to interested participants, mainly for the purpose of advertising as specifically as possible for you and to sell you as much stuff as possible.
Now, you could look for yourself on these sites, and then deal with each one individually to remove your name. The problem is, the ejection process from each site is different and sometimes involves faxing and filling in actual physical paperwork. Physically. Paper. What year is this at all?
In any case, an easier way to do this is to use a service like DeleteMe on Abine.com. For just $ 129 a year, this service will skip all those annoying obstacles for you. Even every few months they will check that your name has not been re-added to these sites.
3. Remove your information directly from the websites
First, check with your telephone company or mobile phone provider that you are listed online and ask them to remove your name if so.
If you want to remove an old post or an old shameful blog you once wrote, you will need to contact the webmaster of these websites individually. You can look at the About section or Contacts on the site to find the right person to contact, or go to www.whois.com and search for the domain name you want to contact. There you should find information about who to contact exactly.
Unfortunately, private web site operators are not required to remove your posts. So, when contacting these sites, be kind and clearly explain why you want the post removed. Hopefully, they will really listen and remove it.
Otherwise, item no. 4 is a less effective but still a viable option.
4. Remove personal information from websites
If someone has posted sensitive information about you, such as a social security number or bank account number, and the site editor where the information was posted will not remove it, you can submit a legal request (https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905) for Google to remove them.
The removal process could take time and there is no guarantee that it will be successful, but it is also your best solution if you find yourself in such a delicate situation.
5. Remove outdated search results
Let's say there is a website with information about you that you would like to get rid of. For example, your ex-employer staffing list, months after you change jobs. You asked them to update the page. They do, but when you search for your name on Google, that page still appears in search results - though your name is never found when you click the link. This means that Google's servers have an old version of the page.
This is where this tool (REQUEST REMOVAL) is used. Send the URL to Google in the hope that it will update its servers by deleting the caching result so that you are no longer connected to that page. There is no guarantee that Google will remove cached information for various reasons, but it's worth trying to eradicate as much of your internet presence as possible.
6. Finally, the last step you will take is to remove your email accounts
Depending on the type of email account you have, the number of steps for this will vary.
You need to log in to your account and then find how the account is deleted or closed. Some accounts will remain open for some time, so if you want to reactivate them, you can.
An email address is required to complete the previous steps, so make sure this is the last.
One more thing ...
Remember to be patient when doing this process, and don't expect to finish it in a day. You may also need to come to terms with the fact that some things may not be permanently deleted from the Internet.