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You can erase your identity from the web (with some tradeoffs)

Whilst VPN and other programs serve as a preventive measure to protect our internet data and identity, data left behind prior to these measures can still be accessed by malicious parties or marketers.

Fortunately, Google and several other companies have now made it possible to remove any existing data from the server. In this article, we breakdown the ways that this can be done, alongside the practicality and considerations before doing so.

What can be removed

According to Google’s initiative, data such as identification documents, login credentials, signatures and bank account numbers can be removed from its servers. The company is also considering the removal of professional contact in the context of doxxing.

Apart from Google’s solution, you can also choose third party solutions to remove the information from data brokers. These third-party services claim to provide more extensive removal which can extend out to intellectual property and adult content which are distributed without consent from its creator.

How it can be done

On Google’s end, an individual or a representative can submit a request to remove links from the Google Search results. The actual removal will depend on several factors such as professionally-relevant content and newsworthy content.

Data bidders are the ones buying and selling your personal information for purposes such as marketing. In America, the main players include Oracle, Corelogic and Acxiom. You will have to manually opt-out from these data broker sites and request them to delete your data. Some of these brokers will require a form to be submitted through email upon completion.

Using external help

With each data broker holding onto its own database, third party services simplify the removal process. These services work by granting a limited lawful power for these companies to act on your behalf.

You can start by getting a price quotation on your situation. The basic form of measurement will be the number of URLs which contains sensitive information.

Depends on the level of privacy you are looking for

While you go about removing current data on the data brokers, there is no guarantee that a new broker might restart the cycle. For absolute privacy, users will have to remove themselves from social media – which is a tough feat to achieve in 2022.

In this regard, the third party companies mentioned will most likely allow you to adjust the level of privacy that you would like to achieve. These standards will also differ according to your profession and whether you are representing an individual or a larger body.

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