Delete me from the Internet: How to remove your Digital Footprint?


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We all want to be the best-kept secret on the internet. No matter how clever you think your username is or what celebrity name you choose for a social media handle, it won’t take long for a Google search to reveal your true identity. This can cause problems with employers and potential friends who may not like the kind of content that’s associated with you online.

Other than that, the internet is becoming a dangerous place for your digital footprint. With hackers and identity thieves lurking around every corner, it’s vital to be proactive about protecting yourself and your information.

The good news is there are ways to remove yourself from the digital footprint.

In this blog post, we will discuss Digital Footprints and how to remove all traces of you from the Internet in order to protect your privacy.

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What is Digital Footprint?

When we talk about the digital footprint, what exactly do we mean? Well, a digital footprint is a collection of data about you, your online activity, and the websites you visit. This may include social media accounts, personal websites or blogs, and even photos of yourself on other people’s sites. The amount and type of information you have online can be a goldmine for hackers and identity thieves. Your digital footprint can be used to track your online behavior and identify personal information about you. This information is collected by third-party companies who have access to it through their relationship with other companies. 

Digital Footprint

The majority of this data is gathered without your consent or knowledge. Your digital footprint exists whether you want it to or not because once something is published on social media, its existence can’t be undone (hence the term Digital Footprint).

Your digital footprint is everything you do online that can be associated with your name. That’s why it’s important to take steps to remove yourself from the internet before something bad happens.

But how do all our Internet footprints get created? 

They are simply a collection of data that users leave behind whenever they interact on the Internet. Whenever people search for something online, like a product or topic on Google; comment on someone’s post/photo on Facebook; upload files to Dropbox; buy tickets; review a company or product on Yelp; leave reviews of items on Amazon, they’re creating digital footprints.

A single search query is enough to create a digital footprint. However, the most popular methods used to create footprints are social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. These websites allow users to post data about themselves in the form of photos and updates that can be viewed by anyone with access to their accounts. If you post something online, it becomes part of your digital footprint.

The problem here is that you cannot erase anything from your Digital Footprint – once it’s there, it’s permanent! The only way you can ensure that no one will stumble upon your old posts is by deleting them entirely off Facebook and other social media sites.

You leave digital footprints wherever you go online. No matter how careful you are, once you publish anything on the Internet – it cannot be undone! This means that all of your actions on the Internet were recorded and saved by third parties who can sell this information to anyone without your consent or knowledge.

So how exactly do these companies collect data about us? 

Companies like Google, Microsoft, etc., send tracking cookies that follow users across different websites and gather information about their interests & preferences. They then use this information to provide targeted advertisements that will most likely interest you based on what they know about you from your browsing history or through your online profile details (if connected with a social network).

E-mail accounts with access to your sent and received messages, all attachments you receive or send, Trash folder (where deleted items are stored), Outbox (containing messages that were not sent), draft folders; everything is stored.

Why are the reasons for deleting the Digital Footprint?

There are several reasons why you might want to remove yourself from the internet. Here are the most common ones:

  • It can be difficult to get a job or promotion if you have information about yourself online that your potential employer deems inappropriate. For example, say you are applying for a job in the medical field, but there is some questionable content on your social media account. This could cause problems with getting hired and will likely result in your application being rejected.
  • The internet has become increasingly dangerous over recent years due to identity theft, ransomware attacks, and other security breaches. These criminals use various techniques to access personal data like credit card numbers, passwords, etc., which they then sell on dark web markets for profit. No one wants their private information exposed, so it’s important to take action when removing yourself from the digital footprint. By erasing all of this data, your online identity becomes anonymous. No one can track you down based on what’s in your digital footprint, and it will be next to impossible for someone to steal or misuse information about you.
  • Deleting digital footprints will also protect you and help you to hide from creepy stalkers or online bullies.
  • Your name appears in Google search results associated with negative events like jail time or bankruptcy filings which you would rather not be linked to.
  • Advertisers use browsing history etc., to target their ads (and they don´t care if it happens by accident). Deleting the digital footprints my prevent that.

What are the different types of Digital Footprint?

There are a number of ways that people leave their digitized footprints behind. Some common forms include:

Social media – Sites like Facebook keep copies of every single post ever made by their users even after they have deleted their account(s). This means that if anyone has access to these cached files, then they could easily find out all kinds of personal details about a person just from reading through some old posts. Other social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest work similarly when it comes to keeping track of your activity.

E-mails – Whenever you send an email, it’s saved on the mail servers and can easily be accessed by anyone who has access to that account.

Search Queries – Most major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing keep track of every single search query ever made with their site. If you think about it, this basically means they have a complete record of your entire internet history as well as all the websites you’ve visited!

File sharing sites – Sites like Dropbox or iCloud will keep copies of any files you upload indefinitely, even if they are deleted from your storage device. This can be useful in case you lose your files but not if you want complete privacy.

How to delete your Digital Footprint completely?

To remove your digital footprint, you need to first delete all old posts, emails, etc., and then clear out the caches on your internet browser! This means that it does take some effort, but the end result is worth it (no one will be able to find any information about you). You can use cleaner programs too if you’re feeling lazy because they do most of the work for you. However, even with these programs, you still need to take steps yourself, so don’t forget about them! They won’t erase every single trace, so follow our tips too.

Delete all your Social Media Accounts

This will stop any old posts from being indexed by search engines. But remember, deleting your account is NOT the same as deactivating it! If you deactivate your account then all of your data can still be accessed for up to 90 days. You also need to make sure that you remove every single picture on these sites because they are often cached by third-party websites like Google Images.

Delete all Passwords 

Most major companies keep records of your passwords which means they could easily access them if needed even though you have deleted or changed them in the past. For this reason, you should change all important passwords before erasing your digital footprint completely because just deleting your password won’t accomplish much!

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Clear out your browsers 

Your browser contains all your online information and is a gateway for anyone to access your digital data. To delete your digital fingerprint it is pretty important to clear browsing data. Navigate to your browser settings and clear your history, cookies, saved passwords, etc.

clear-browsing-data-chrome

Remove personal info from websites

This is a tricky one that takes time, but if you really want to remove your digital footprint, then it’s well worth it. The idea is basically to contact any websites where you have shared personal details and ask them to remove this information from their databases. This can sometimes involve sending letters in the mail, so make sure you follow up because not all companies will delete your data after just one request.

Unsubscribe yourself from Mailing Lists

Most companies use mailing lists to send you advertisements which they compile by pulling your data from multiple places. If you want to remove yourself entirely, this is the important step you need to take. However, it can be pretty difficult to unsubscribe yourself from every list manually one by one. So, for that, you can use Unroll.me. It would help you to see the list of all your subscription emails and allow you to easily unsubscribe from each service without any hassles.

Delete your Google Activity

Right after you create an account on Google, it monitors and records almost everything you do on the web. Just deleting the search history is not enough to remove your digital footprint. To completely eradicate it, you need to delete all your Google activities.

Log into Google and go to “my activity” – https://www.google.com/myactivity – this page shows all the information that Google has logged about your activity online. 

Clear out your cloud storage  

You probably use an external drive or Dropbox or iCloud to save your files, but if anyone gets access to them, they can easily see everything inside of them, even after deleting them yourself. Go into these services and delete all your files to ensure no one will ever be able to see them again.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is quite a process to erase your digital footprints completely but if you want to keep your online identity secure, then taking the necessary steps is well worth it. Otherwise, your information could end up in the wrong hands and ruin things for you! This doesn’t only mean that people might be able to access websites that ask for personal details like passwords and bank details; it also means that people will be able to find out about who you are and where you live, which isn’t ideal when we’re talking about security.

Remember, the longer it takes for someone to find out who you really are or what you like, the better. If everyone knows everything there is to know about you because of the sites you’ve visited, the people you’ve met, and the posts you’ve made; then this makes it easier for burglars to take advantage of that information.

The key here is to remember that the internet never forgets! It may take some time, but it’s well worth making sure you clean out any digital footprint you don’t want others seeing because eventually, anyone will find anything they look for! 

How can I protect my digital footprint?

If you want to avoid being tracked when surfing the Web and using social media sites, change your settings so that third parties cannot view your information or content unless they have your permission first. This way companies won’t have access to the information you don’t want them to have while still being able to use the Internet.

What can a potential employer find out about a person just by looking at their digital footprint?

Employers will find out your name, where you live and work, who your friends are, what jobs you applied for in the past etc. They may also watch what videos or articles you’ve been visiting lately and hire someone who shares similar interests with their company’s mission statement.

Can deleting my cookies really protect my identity?

Yes! Most Internet browsers automatically save some information such as bookmarks, recent searches, and user IDs/login names using cookies.

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