There are a number of reasons why people would like to disappear online, with some of the most common being: the threat of identity theft, blackmail or extortion; defamation of character; unsolicited selling and marketing; people using awareness of your personal activity and movements to act against you; cyberstalking and bullying; and threats to family and personal security.
To totally disappear online is next to impossible unless you are willing to use a VPN and TOR, and trade only in cryptocurrency. However, you can limit the amount information that is being shared about you and mange you personal privacy better
Follow our 7 top tips to stay one step ahead and safeguard your privacy online:
First you need to find out what’s out there about you, before imposing a self-styled audit. Use Google to search for yourself with all name variations, email addresses and residential addresses. If you’ve never done this before, you will probably be a bit shocked by what you find.
Social Media. One of the major sacrifices you will have to make is not being able to use social media. You will no longer have the convenience and freedom of these platforms that you once enjoyed. All active accounts must be deleted.
Delete All Other Accounts. Amazon, mobile apps, eBay, Netflix, online retail shopping sites, dating sites… they all have to go. It’s hard to remember every site you have signed up for; it’s not bulletproof, but an easy way to do this is by auditing your emails. Most accounts you have signed up for will regularly email you with a newsletter, so you need to reverse engineer your subscribership. Unsubscribe from their emails and ask to be removed from their data list: the new GDPR update on the 25th of May 2018 means they are legally obliged to honour this request.
Data Brokers. You may have seen that some of your personal data is being shown in its entirety - or partially - on what is described as a data broker website such as 192.com. Again you can ask for this information to be removed directly from the site itself and they should comply. Alternatively, companies like ReputationDefender can do this for you as there are many sites and they can be hard to find at times.
Others. Ask people not to post your personal information on the web. If someone is trying to find you, they may know who you associate with. You could be tracked by association.
Right to be Forgotten. If webmasters are unresponsive and data brokers or social media platforms haven’t taken down your information, you can exercise your Right to be Forgotten which is a direct request to Google.
Repeat and be Vigilant. You should actively audit yourself every 6 months and some of the steps above may have to be repeated. If you can’t quite make the all sacrifices needed to become next to invisible, consider setting up a false email address with inaccurate data amending personal details such as age, sex, name and location.
For more tips and tricks please download our free Privacy Guide below