How to Remove Your Personal Information From the Internet

Jorge Felix  - Cybersecurity Expert
Last updated: March 11, 2024

Every internet user leaves a digital footprint behind with every session. And there is a whole new economy, the data economy, paying close attention, gathering the data we leave behind, and using it to make a profit.


It’s no surprise that the internet is fraught with information. Of course, that was the whole idea in the first place. However, personally identifiable information has become the center of a new economic system, the data economy, at the heart of surveillance capitalism. This system turns people’s privacy into a commodity, a raw material that can be processed and sold with some additional work. However, this phenomenon is exceedingly harmful to individual users whose information is turned against them by corporations, governments, and criminals. The only way to stay safe in this environment is to delete your personal data from the internet and ensure minimal digital footprints.

Do you remember the first time you went online? Was it to get a free email account? Did you want to read the news? Was it to do some shopping? On that day, you started leaving a digital footprint of personal information behind you. Since then, that trail has been growing until today. Should you mind? Since you are reading this article, you probably want to delete your personal information from the online world.

The internet’s thirst for personal user information has grown out of control, and it’s a threat to your privacy. If you’re unfortunate enough, it can even turn into physical danger.

Much of your personal information is out there, and it’s not a result of you watching your favorite video content on the best movie streaming websites or other random online activities. Instead, it’s a deliberate and systematic process in which data brokers constantly sweep the web and public records to build and sell your profile.

This article will explain why having all this information about you online harms your privacy and security, why it happens, and how to stop it yourself or with professional help.

Pro tip: The most effective way to keep your private data and information off the internet is to get a professional service; we highly recommend Incogni. There are other ways you can use too, as covered in detail in this inclusive guide below, but please note they are time-intensive. You should also do them every few months because the internet isn’t static; it continues to accumulate your information as long as you use it. Hence using a professional service might be worthwhile for most users.

Personal information found online

Any application or website that collects your personal data can compromise your privacy and security. Many users think that only social media websites can collect and store their personal details, which is wrong. Ad-tracking software collects data about your browsing activities and then targets you with personalized advertisements. Data brokers also collect your publicly available information and sell it to scammers and marketers. Below are types of personal information that can be collected online:

  1. Religious beliefs: Your religious beliefs say a lot about your personality. Many religious organizations publicize their activities and participants. Some social media users also explicitly indicate their religion and even participate in public religious forums.
  2. Professional Information: This includes your work history, industry conference participation, or employment status.
  3. Search History: Search engines, like Google, track your search history to improve their results.
  4. Financial and Legal Records: Many legal proceedings are held publicly, and their details are available online. Also, some of your financial records, including your pay slips, can be accessed online.
  5. Political affiliations and Lifestyle: Participation in political forums can say much about your political stand. Also, your subscriptions and shopping pattern can also reveal your lifestyle.
  6. Shopping preferences: Various applications and tools track how you interact with e-commerce stores and advertisements. This can reveal a lot about the products you prefer and the amount of money you spend.
  7. Location data: Hotel reviews, check-ins, and photos you upload can reveal a lot about your location:
  8. Personally Identifiable Information (PII): This includes pieces of information that are identifiable to you. They include social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, birth dates, etc.

What can people do with your personal information online?

When scammers access your sensitive information, the consequences can be devastating. The scammers gather small pieces of information about you from your posts, photos, and public records until they can get your complete personality. They then pose as legitimate organizations or accidental friends who you can trust.

With the help of social engineering tactics, they deceive you into revealing sensitive information or vulnerabilities they can use to carry out an attack. They can manipulate you to reveal your login details or even send them money unknowingly. Other scammers will steal your identity and drain your bank accounts. The list of what scammers can do with your personal information is endless, but they end up causing monetary and reputational damages.

How did my personal information end up on the internet?

As mentioned, you have been spilling the beans about yourself since you became an internet user. However, it’s not all your fault. Personal information is the internet’s favorite currency and can surface in several ways.

  • Data breaches. Hackers often manage to break into confidential databases to steal them. The information they steal includes personally identifying information, and a black market is waiting to buy it. 
  • Data brokers. These legitimate companies collect all the information they can get by any legal means possible. They dig as deep as possible into the government’s public records and combine them with online sources of information. Then, they manage to put together a profile for each individual that they can sell to any interested party.
  • Social media and blogs. So many of us share so much personal information on our social media accounts, such as Instagram, that a skilled criminal would need nothing more than that to commit fraud. It’s all public and very personal.
  • Web browsing. Web servers use “cookies” to track you while browsing the web. The cookies give away your browsing history, which allows advertisers to customize the ads they show you and increase the chances of getting a click.

What are data broker sites?

Data broker websites are vast depositories of personal information. You can use them to search for information on somebody. The site will give you a few pieces of basic information for free. But then, if you want the complete profile with more details, you’ll have to buy it.

These businesses search high and low for as much data as possible and create a consistent picture of each individual. Their sources include online public records, information from social media, websites, and mobile apps you use, and even commercial loyalties when they work together with retailers. They can also buy info from other data brokers. The result is that these corporations know billions of people with fantastic depth.

One of these brokers could know your home’s price, your education history, where you’ve lived and with whom, your record as a river, your political preferences, health history and insurance details, phone number, physical address, social security number, and ID details. If you are into fitness apps, they could also have a good idea about your physical condition and training habits. 

Surprised? Until 2019, the data brokering industry was worth 200 billion USD yearly, and it is expected to rise to USD 462 billion by 2031. And you are the commodity they are using to trade.

Who buys information from data brokers?

Data brokers have many clients, including legitimate businesses and criminals.

Let’s start with the legal use cases. Advertisers use this information to customize their ad campaigns. Using things like shopping histories, personal interests, and even political activities or interests, they can create particular ads that can catch your eye online. This publicity has a better chance of getting your attention and making you follow its links.

Background checks are another legal use case. Law enforcement, reporters, and potential employers often need to run a background check on an individual. So, a data broker’s report is a great starting point. The brokers already did the research and the heavy lifting, thus saving their clients a lot of time, energy, and resources.

Then there’s the fishy side of things. Digital criminals can also access personal information on data broker websites. By gathering accurate information from several sources, including the dark web in the case of criminals, they can accurately characterize their potential victims. Then, they can open accounts in your name, have a contract signed by “you,” use your social security number, file a tax return, and even transact on your bank accounts. This information has sometimes led to victims being stalked at home or work and suffering from constant harassment.

In digital security, we often deal with risks that remain isolated from a user’s physical safety. However, the excess of online personal information about an individual is not limited in this way. Remember that one of the typical pieces of personal information available with data brokers is a physical address. For example, in 2014, the Gamergate harassment campaign happened. It forced Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, to leave her house as the Gamergate terrorists started to post pictures of her living space along with death threats.

And, please, do not ask yourself, “But how likely is this to happen to me?” These are the famous last words you find in every case of a severe security crisis, digital and otherwise. It’s likely enough for you to do something about it.

Can I remove my online data completely?

The answer to whether to remove your information from the internet is yes. But there are subtleties involved, and you should also understand the reasons for doing so.

By now, you’ve probably seen that your personal information is shared, sold, bought, and exchanged all the time by every website you use consistently. And that’s not counting the data brokers, data breaches, and hackers.

Have you ever felt that your online ads know too much about you? Well, you’re not paranoid; they do!

Let’s start with the harsh truth. You can’t eradicate your information from the internet entirely. Something will always remain even if you are ready to delete all your social media and other accounts and hire the best professional service to help you. And it’s unrealistic to expect any internet user to stay entirely away from at least one social media platform and have an email address.

Moreover, you can’t ensure that the information you remove from the internet will stay deleted permanently. The likely scenario is that it will come back sooner or later or be replaced by new, more updated information.

However, that doesn’t mean deleting as much personal information as possible is useless. It also means that keeping your private information safe is a process, not a one-time deal.

Why should I remove my personal information online?

Deleting your personal information from internet

Removing your information from the internet is worth the effort for several reasons:

1. Reduce your data fingerprint

Your data fingerprint started to increase the first time you went online, and it’s not to your advantage. Every unnecessary information about you online is a potential vulnerability that could become a security risk.

2. Decrease unwanted entry points into your life

Digital criminals need something to start. The more information they can find about you, the more attractive you become as a victim because they can profile you more accurately and do their job better and quicker.

3. Avoid harassment

Physical harassment and aggression can start with a bully finding your physical address.

4. Protect your privacy

Your digital privacy is your right. Unfortunately, most legal frameworks in the world still need to figure out how to protect it adequately. This means that only you can help yourself with this issue.

5. Protect your identity

Identity theft is a growing legal problem. It can ruin a person’s life by destroying their reputation, stealing their money, and many other things. From a criminal’s point of view, the best candidates for identity theft are those whose personal information is available online. 

6. Prevent others from profiting from your data

Your data is a digital currency for many corporations. Some of them perform a service for you. But many of them profit from your information without any benefit to you. Why should you let them make money at your expense?

So, it is wise to delete your personal and other non-sensitive information from the internet. It protects your privacy, prevents various risks, keeps you in control of your digital life, and reduces the chances of falling victim to cybercriminals.

Wait! Here’s more

Your information is merchandise for sale to marketers, businesses, individuals with money to pay, and even your government. The worrying thing about all this is that anything you’ve ever added to the internet about yourself or somebody else could become a deciding factor by a third party.

A critical consideration is that a piece of trivial information can be the key driving secondary but accurate inferences about you. Data analysis experts know how to start from seemingly disconnected facts and combine them to make them meaningful and revealing.

Consider something else: your likes, habits, and web visits can betray a lot of important information about yourself: location, financial status, health, employment, political preferences, sexual preferences, and religious beliefs. Are you feeling uneasy already? You should. This is happening all the time, and it could include you.

Have you heard the term “data economy“? It’s literal. It refers to how personal data is the new currency of a parallel economic system. So, your personal information is worth something, and you should be able to control it. Unfortunately, in the current digital wilderness, the only way to regain control of your data is to delete it from the internet. This alone is an excellent reason to do so.

And how can you delete your information from the internet? Let us tell you.

Removing your personal information online

Protecting your digital privacy needs an integral approach. This means that while you need to delete as much as possible from the internet, you must also adopt preventive measures simultaneously.

For instance, it would be good to start using private search engines, VPNs, anti-tracking software, and other privacy technologies. You’ll also need to correct your browsing habits and protect your metadata and some other things. Don’t worry. We will explain everything in detail.

If you want to delete your personal information from the internet, you have two options: to do it yourself or to hire professional help to do it for you.

Ways to delete your personal information on your own

1. Google yourself

If you want to remove your data from the internet, you need to start by finding out who knows what about you. So, you start by running a Google search on yourself.

Google is the biggest search engine. It’s terrific and the access point for most users, so it’s an excellent place to start.

Be thorough and ensure that you find every website that includes some of your information; don’t pay attention to the first few hits only.

Also read: How to delete Google search history

2. Configure your web browser to protect your privacy

Cookies are tracking devices. They are helpful to you because they make your web experience more personal. But they are privacy poison. Also, they are security vulnerabilities, as hackers can use a fake cookie to impersonate you.

Avoid cookies. You can open your web browser’s settings and turn off cookies altogether. Alternatively, you can adopt Brave as your web browser. It’s designed to protect your privacy and blocks cookies by default. It’s very functional and has many other advantages, like blocking advertisers. Another privacy-friendly browser is DuckDuckGo, which prevents browser fingerprinting.

3. Clean up your online accounts

Deleting your social media accounts is one of the best measures to protect your online privacy and remove your data on the internet. We know it’s pretty hard, but it’s a critical step if you’re serious about removing yourself from the internet.

After careful consideration, if you can’t bring yourself to live without social media, then at least you’ll need to choose to stay on the platforms you really need. Think profoundly and consider those accounts you have opened through the years that you haven’t used for a long time.

For instance, do you still have a MySpace account? That’s one account you can delete without problems, especially if Tom is your only remaining friend.

You will need to tweak your privacy settings in your accounts to ensure that only your friends and contacts can see your data.

And don’t stop at social media accounts. Over the years, you have accumulated many online accounts you are not using. For example, that online store where you only bought something once still has all your data.

In short: Take some time to remember all the accounts you’ve opened over the years, and get rid of them unless they’re critical. If deleting or disabling accounts isn’t possible (as some websites don’t give such options), you can delete all your personal information from those accounts and fill up dummy data instead.

4. Remove yourself from data brokers

So, who are those infamous data brokers, we hear you ask? Think about Spokeo, MyLife, Whitepages, BeenVerified, PeopleFinder, and Intelius. But there are hundreds of them.

These companies are in the business of systematically gathering personal information about everybody and their digital lifestyle. Then, they put that information for sale. Advertisers are their main clients, but the product is available to anybody willing to pay for it, including cybercriminals.

Each data broker offers the chance to opt out of them. This can be tedious, but it’s essential. The good news is that you only need to opt out of those brokers who have you in their database. Also, you can hire a service to do this in your stead –more on that later.

5. Delete your information from blogs

Blogs have a way of making people share confidential information they wouldn’t reveal otherwise. So, take some time to remember those blogs you posted in the past. Find them and review them. Is that information worth requesting its removal? Remember: the goal is to decrease your digital footprint as much as possible.

6. Purge your apps

Many of your apps are spying on you. And they are happy to let you know if you would read the Terms and Conditions. But, of course, nobody reads that stuff, and they click on “I Agree” to launch the app for the first time.

Go through the app list you have on your phone or tablet. Which are the ones you use often? Do you really need them? It would be best if you did this a few times a year to ensure that every app you have is valuable. The rest are nothing but privacy liabilities.

Be especially skeptical about loan apps. Some of them will never get you a loan. Instead, they will only squeeze sensitive information from you that they can use for nefarious purposes.

7. Clean up your online file-sharing accounts and your browser

Sensitive information is to be kept safe and offline. Therefore, your computer, phone, or file-sharing websites should have minimal vital details about yourself. It will avoid problems if your device suffers from a security vulnerability. Also, if you lose it or it’s stolen, you would prefer the new owner to have as little advantage over you.

Consider your browser, too. You should always keep your cache as close to empty as possible. That is because your browser has your search history, cached files, passwords, and more information unique to you. These are treasures for criminals.

8. Configure your phone’s settings and permissions

You don’t need to be using an app for that app to monitor you and give away your data. We assume you already deleted the apps you don’t need, as suggested in a previous section. You still need to go through the permissions you grant to the apps you kept and decide if they deserve them.

For instance, your food delivery app surely needs to know where you are to deliver your food. However, why should it use your camera? Or your microphone?

The harsh reality about mobile apps is that each new one you install is a potential privacy problem waiting to happen, so be wary of them.

Your phone’s GPS should be off except when you’re using it. The same goes for your Bluetooth radio signals. And since we mentioned Bluetooth, maybe you didn’t know that even when your GPS is turned off, Google and corporations can pinpoint your location using the nearest Bluetooth beacons.

9. Use a VPN

A good VPN service can protect you from third-party online tracking and surveillance. It encrypts all your traffic and hides your IP address.

While VPNs are currently fashionable because of their increased entertainment options, their original use case is to protect a user’s privacy, safety, and anonymity online. A VPN will make it very hard for the usual suspects to track and profile you.

And, before you ask, no, you should never use a free VPN. Most free VPNs keep detailed user logs that they can sell to advertisers and other data miners. They are not in business to protect your privacy. Instead, their industry is to turn your privacy into a commodity they can exploit. They are an integral part of the new data economy.

Digital privacy on the internet is a new phenomenon in the human experience. Consequently, the world’s governments have been slow in creating legal frameworks to regulate or protect citizens’ rights. These issues live in a legal nobody’s land, so every individual has to assume the full responsibility of protecting his privacy.

Regulations like GDPR and CCPA allow consumers to have their information deleted upon request. But internet privacy is a state issue in the US, and only a handful of states have moved forward with new privacy laws.

11. Keep your Social media accounts private and delete the old ones.

Data brokers can collect your personal information on your social media profiles. Therefore, you should delete the social media accounts you don’t use and keep the active ones private. Also, consider deleting all the old or outdated accounts on unpopular platforms such as Tumblr or Myspace.

Additionally, adjust your privacy settings on the social media platforms you frequently use to reduce the amount of personal information revealed and the number of people who can view your posts. For instance, you can lock your profile on Facebook or stay private on Instagram.

12. Limit the data Google collects

Google offers many tools for gaming, work, travel, communication, entertainment, etc. All these tools collect data about the users. Google search alone accounts for over 92% of the search engine market share worldwide, and therefore, it harvests enormous amounts of data.

However, you can limit the amount of data collected by Google and its applications by requesting them to remove your name from Google search results. This disables the search engine from fetching results related to your name. But keep in mind that this does not remove your details from the website where your information is posted.

Additionally, you can change your Google Privacy settings to auto-delete the data they collect from you after a specific period. This prevents your data from piling on their servers and limits the amount of data they have on you.

13. Take advantage of new data privacy laws

Countries like the US have passed comprehensive data privacy laws that allow users to request the removal of their personal information. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy regulations enable users to opt out of a sale, targeting their personal information and deleting the data where necessary. However, the enforcement of the regulations may vary across different states.

14. Don’t forget smart devices

Most devices we use today are connected to the internet, from TVs, watches, and IoT devices. These devices collect data about your preferences and then target you with advertisements. For instance, a smart TV uses automated content recognition (ACR) to track your watching behavior and then target you with recommendations.

Smart speakers have also become a controversial topic after being exposed by researchers that they can be hacked and used for eavesdropping attacks. You should, therefore, manage your smart devices to reduce the amount of data they can transmit about you.

15. Clean or delete old email accounts

Old email accounts are still holding your personal information. Also, they are scanned for personalized advertising. For instance, Yahoo and AOL are now both owned by Verizon, so you should consider deleting them and creating one universal account. Deleting such unused email accounts can reduce the amount of personal information out there.

16. Cancel your shopping loyalty programs

Your shopping loyalty program may be great for saving, but most of them collect your shopping history, which they sell to data brokers. However, you can opt out of having your data sold by loyalty programs by changing your settings. Many loyalty programs have a ‘Do not sell my information’ setting, but if they don’t have one, consider deactivating your account.

17. Erase public records

In many US states, you can request the deletion of sensitive information from public records. These may include Department of Motor Vehicle files, court records, or other public offices. All you have to do is contact your county clerk’s office and file a request.

18. Consider signing up for identity theft protection and monitoring

If you can delete personal data from the internet, the risk of identity theft is reduced. However, your data is not completely secure, and you should consider signing up for identity theft protection. These applications monitor your personal and financial details for signs of fraud and notify you in real-time. The services also notify you when a new account is opened in your name and check whether your passwords have been leaked in case of a data breach.

19. Use anti-tracking tools to prevent data collection online

You can use an anti-tracking tool to prevent websites and scammers from collecting personal data. The challenge here is distinguishing between legitimate and malicious tools. Some tools claim to prevent data tracking, but they run scams and steal identities in the background.

You can manually refuse to share data with websites, but it doesn’t always work. Many genuine websites will adhere to these settings, but malicious ones will not. The safest method of preventing data collection is using a virtual private network (VPN).

20. Create a secondary email address for new services

Your email address holds a lot of sensitive personal information. Anyone with access to your email account can consequently access many of your accounts. Therefore, creating a secondary email address is advisable to limit the damage you can suffer in case the main email account is compromised.

Also, you can use the secondary email to register for new services or risky online activities. Furthermore, you can configure your secondary email address to forward emails to the main account for easier management.

21. Check if your passwords have been leaked

Millions of passwords are stolen and leaked every year. Since your login credentials are your account’s gatekeepers, anyone can access your account if they are exposed. In the last year, large corporations such as Verizon, Twitter, Doordash, Samsung, and Uber have been hit with serious data breaches. Such data breaches expose a lot of user data, including login credentials.

Fortunately, you can use various online tools to search for passwords associated with your email address in data breaches. These tools can even scan the dark web markets where the login credentials are traded.

22. Delete your search history and turn off location services

Google personalizes your browsing experience according to your search history. However, if you don’t turn off ‘Web and Activity Tracking’, your voice searches and audio recordings can be shared with other services. Follow these steps to turn off web and activity tracking:

  • After logging in to your Google account, go to the ‘My Activity’ page. Select ‘Saving Activity’ and turn it off. 
  • Go to the ‘More Activity’ page to turn off your ‘YouTube History’ and ‘Location History.’

23. Remove identifying imagery from Google Maps

Google Maps’ street view feature stores data about every location in the US. The information may include personally identifiable details such as vehicle license plates. Follow these steps to remove identifying imagery from Google Maps.

  • Search your home address, identify the image you want to remove, and click ‘Report a problem’.
  • Fill in a request form describing the areas of the image you would like to be blurred. Also, explain why you want the image to be removed.
  • Submit the request. After investigations, Google will contact you whether you need to provide more information.

The process may take longer if the image doesn’t belong to Google. In such cases, it has to reach out to the owner and discuss the way forward. If the owner does not comply, Google may take it down on its own.

Hiring a professional service to delete your personal information online

The strategies we described in the previous section work. But they are time-intensive. Moreover, you must keep doing them every few months because the internet isn’t static; if you keep using it, it will also keep accumulating your information. It could be worth it for you to hire a professional service to do the job for you.

How did we pick the best data removal services?

There are many data removal and online reputation management services. However, as it happens in every market, only a few are premium options, so we went through some of them to find the best for you. We considered the following features:

  • An extensive list of data brokers
  • Global presence
  • Tracker and publicity blockers
  • Cookie deletion
  • Phishing protection
  • Free trial or money-back guarantee
  • Value for money

We picked three winners for your consideration:

1. Incogni

Incogni is the brainchild of the same team that developed Surfshark, the most disruptive, top-notch VPN service in the market. Surfshark has earned an excellent reputation in a short period for providing one of the best VPNs in the industry at a meager price. Some of that reputation has everything to do with the VPN’s commitment to user privacy. The company also offers an antivirus, Surfshark One.

Anybody can sign up for Incogni and have their information deleted from a long list of data brokers. Incogni will contact each data broker to opt out in the client’s name. Furthermore, if the data broker doesn’t honor the request, Incogni will have the local authorities involved to ensure the result.

So you don’t have to worry about all the digital tape involved in each opt-out process. Incogni will cut it all out for you. That makes it exceedingly convenient and easy to use.

As soon as you become Incogni’s client, it will remove your information from various data brokers in the United Kingdom, the US, and Europe. As a result, it has the most comprehensive data broker list in the market.

Incogni will also prevent spam from reaching you (with a spam blocker), prevent telemarketers from calling you, identify phishing risks and warn you about them, and target ads as you navigate the worldwide web.

Incogni’s subscription can go from 5.79 to 11.49 USD monthly, depending on the length.

The only drawback with Incogni is that it only takes clients from the US, the UK, and Europe.

2. Privacy Bee

Privacy Bee is another good service for privacy-savvy users looking to reduce their digital footprint. According to the website’s information, this provider works with more than 200 data brokers. Even better: it keeps checking periodically to ensure that your deleted data stays deleted.

The service is particularly effective with people’s search sites, which are among the worst privacy nightmares on the internet because they are readily available to wrongdoers.

Privacy Bee is a bit pricier than Incogni. Both vendors are comparable in their ability to have your data deleted from data brokers in Europe and the US. However, Privacy Bee has some interesting additional features, For example, an active tracker-blocking extension for your web browser. Does it justify the price? Hardly, since uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger is as good at blocking unwanted code, and they’re free.

But there’s another extra feature worth considering. Privacy Bee will monitor the web for data breaches and leaks that could involve you. While it’s unlikely for this feature to be useful very often, it’s still good to have it.

3. DeleteMe

It is a US-based provider. It can remove your information from 38 data brokers from the United States and people finder sites. The number 38 is not very impressive compared with the hundreds of data brokers in Privacy Bee and Incogni. But DeleteMe’s list includes the most intrusive ones in the US, probably the most harmful ones.

One year with DeleteMe will cost you 129 USD, but discounts are available. But, again, it’s expensive compared to Incogni, especially since it works with a much smaller number of data brokers in the US only.

As a DeleteMe client, you’ll get an initial report after a week. Then, the service will delete your information four times. After that, it will check the data brokers every three months to ensure your deleted information doesn’t reappear in their databases. If you have custom removal needs, an account representative will handle them.

Communicating with the DeleteMe team is easy and fast with their website’s live chat feature. You can also use this feature to ask questions before signing up.

DeleteMe is somewhat limited compared with Incogni or Privacy Bee. However, its clients love it! It has a 4.70 star rating, so it’s worth your consideration.

If DeleteMe can’t delete your information from a given website, an agent will work with you and tell you what to do, step by step, so that you can complete the process yourself.

What can I do about the information I can’t delete?

Sometimes, the situation is out of control, and you cannot completely delete your personal data from the internet. Below are examples of such scenarios.

  • Tech enables private corporations to take enhanced 3D photos of the entire city.
  • The government sets up surveillance cameras in every corner. 
  • Database with millions of records leaked and stolen each year. 

Keeping your information out of the internet is really difficult in this digital age. All you have to do is be more cautious with what you share, whom you share it with, and where you share it. Additionally, consider using privacy enhancement tools like VPNs to boost your privacy.


Your private information is floating around the internet as you read this. And you probably never knew that such abundant information is worth fueling a whole new economy.

However, this value of your private information is likely harming or threatening to harm you in ways that can go from mere annoyances (like spam mail) to serious security issues (like physical harassment).

The problem is that we created this environment. We willingly provided all that information to the internet, one little piece at a time, without considering how it would add up in time or that anybody would take the time to collect everything and make sense of it. 

So now, it’s a wild beast out of control, hungry for more information and getting fatter every day. Our privacy feeds and strengthens it as it weakens our rights to privacy, anonymity, and security.

The good news is that there is plenty for you to do. Prevention is critical, but corrective measures are also decisive. This article has shown you how to delete your personal information from the internet and take back control over your data on your own or with the help of a professional service. Unfortunately, it will cost you time, energy, or money; you may even need to sacrifice a social media account or two. But how much is your privacy worth to you?

Remember: data brokers know your data is valuable and are willing to spend money on it. The same goes for advertisers and marketers, not to mention hackers looking for the best possible victims.

We encourage you to adopt a proactive stance on your private data. Try to do everything within your power so your data footprint is minimal. Your efforts will be rewarded with increased safety, even outside the internet in the real world.

Information is power. So empower yourself by taking back the control you’ve lost over your own information. 

And remember: keeping your digital footprint minimal is an ongoing process. It’s effective only when it becomes a habit. So get used to it.


It’s the practice of rendering personal data challenging to get or understand. One way to achieve digital obscurity is never to provide such information unless there is no other option.

Digital minimalism refers to not giving away personal data over the internet. The idea is to minimize your digital footprint and protect yourself against hackers and the new surveillance capitalism.

No. Although GDPR and CCPA data privacy regulations allow users to file deletion requests, they do not indicate whether data brokers should ask for user consent before collecting personal data. Data aggregators collect data already in the public domain or circulating online. Such data is shared legally by companies whose policies allow them to sell user data. This is why users should take their time to read and understand the terms and conditions as well as the privacy policy of any website they opt-in.

Yes. You can contact person finder and data broker websites to request personal data takedown. However, the procedure is complicated and may be time-consuming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Additionally, rather than completely deleting your data, the brokers only make it invisible and could bring it back later. This is illegal, but the brokers claim to have reacquired your data.

The best option is to start from scratch. Delete all your email, social media, and e-commerce accounts and create new ones. Your personal data may take time to disappear, but eventually, it won’t be easy to find. Consider backing up your data before deleting your account.

You wouldn’t want to be exposed to a compromising situation. However, you can contact the organization and web admins directly by attaching the link to the content you would like to be pulled down. The procedure may take some time, so don’t expect an immediate response.

The best way to manage your digital footprint is by creating separate email addresses for various online activities. You can use a junk email for marketing and promotional activities and keep a primary email address that is clean and out of marketing databases.

Yes. A VPN is a privacy enhancement tool that adds another layer of privacy and security over the internet. It works by rerouting your data inside an encrypted connection tunnel, making it impossible for third parties to intercept it. A quality VPN masks your identity online by concealing your IP address to give you total privacy against trackers and data collectors. Most VPNs do not store personally identifiable information on their servers, which ensures no one can trace your online activities.

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About the Author

Jorge Felix

Jorge Felix

Cybersecurity Expert
236 Posts

Jorge Félix (Mexico City, 1975). Theoretical physicist specialized in Cosmology and Superstring Theory. He's been a writer on scientific and technological issues for more than 23 years. Has ample experience and expertise in computer technology and a keen interest in digital security issues.

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