The internet has been very useful for humanity since it was first developed in the 1960s. It started as a way for the U.S government to exchange information from one computer to another. Today, more than 3.5 billion people enjoy the benefits of the internet every day.
One of the most popular websites on the internet is Google, which is a powerful search engine that provides users with the most relevant results to their search queries.
According to Internet Live Stats, Google handles more than 5 billion searches per day from its users. That’s a lot of searches and data being exchanged on the internet on a daily basis.
You can pretty much search about anything and everything on Google, including sensitive information, such as names, phone numbers, or home addresses.
Some people see this as a security risk. The more your info is available on the internet, the more likely you are to be a victim of identity theft.
Have you ever wanted to prevent your information from showing up on Google search results and being stolen? Keep reading to find out how.
Delete Your Social Media And Shopping Accounts
One of the first steps you need to do to remove your name from Google searches is to delete your social media and your shopping accounts.
Try to remember all the accounts you have created on social media websites and delete them one by one. The usual suspects are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Here’s a list of popular social media sites to help you remember your accounts.
Have you ever made an online purchase? If you have, it’s a good idea to delete your shopping accounts as well. E-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, etc, tend to show up high on Google results. If you register an account on one of these shopping sites with your real name, there’s a good chance your profile is indexed by search engines.
Remove Your Data From People Search Websites
Currently, there are no federal laws that prevent websites from publishing your information such as name, address, marital status, and more. These websites are called people search or people database websites.
The information you typically see on people search websites are information collected from public records. It’s impossible to know how your information ends up on these websites, and the website operators don’t make it easier either.
Most people search websites are not being transparent about how they collect their data. Fortunately, there are privacy-oriented companies that remove unauthorized listings from people search websites.
A company like OneRep dedicates its team and resources to protect your privacy by allowing you to remove private information from 100 sites.
OneRep also writes a very detailed guide about how to remove yourself from Google searches.
Delete Your Email Accounts
One of the last things to do to remove yourself from Google search is delete your email accounts.
Old email accounts that are rarely used could be vulnerable to hackers since you don’t pay attention to them anymore.
If you’re a Gmail user, deleting your Gmail account is not the same thing as deleting your Google account.
Deleting your Google account means that every file you have in your Google Drive will be gone. You’ll also lose access to all subscriptions you’ve purchased using that account. If you have bookmarks associated with your account, those bookmarks will be gone too. So please make sure you know the ramifications before deleting your accounts.
How To Browse The Internet Safely Without Compromising Your Private Information
Although you intend to remove your personal information from Google searches, that doesn’t mean you must stop using the internet altogether.
In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to live without using the internet. Unless you’re willing to live off the grid where there’s no internet connection at all.
There are ways to hide or prevent your information from being exposed while you’re on the internet. Here’s how:
Set Up A Fake (Burner) Email Account
People use a fake or burner email account to remain anonymous on the internet. Also known as a disposable email, this type of email account is not permanent.
Just like a real email, a burner email account can be used to sign-up for a newsletter, click a confirmation link, send or receive messages and more.
For example, you’d like to get a discount coupon by signing up to an online store’s newsletter.
You can use a burner email to sign up while remaining anonymous. If that online store is hacked, and your burner email is exposed, you won’t have to worry because it’s not your real email address.
Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network creates a secure tunnel between you and the internet. When you login to the internet, you have an assigned Internet Protocol (IP) address that identifies your device.
This IP address can tell the location of where you use the internet. Since most people use the internet most of the time, it means most people are broadcasting their locations without knowing it.
Using a VPN to mask your IP address is an effective way to keep your digital footprint clean and hidden from prying eyes.
Use Tor Browser
Tor or The Onion Router is a network that hides your identity when browsing the internet. Tor was initially developed by the U.S Navy back in the mid 1990s. Then, in 2002, the alpha version of Tor was released to the public.
According to its website, Tor prevents websites cookies and third-party pixels from tracking your browsing activities. Usually, when you browse the internet with a normal browser, websites can easily track you by using cookies.
Tor aims to make all users look the same, making it very difficult for you to be identified based on your browsing history or device information.
Removing your personal info from Google searches could take time and patience. There’s also a possibility that some information is impossible to remove. In today’s era when big companies are collecting and selling sensitive data, we must proactively take the necessary steps to protect our identity.
Use the tips above to scrub your info off the internet and start over. Once you remove your data from the internet, start using burner email accounts, VPN, and Tor to hide your digital footprints from hackers.