Ever thought about removing a part of your past from the Web? Like a photo of a bad hairdo from college, or a cheesy attempt at building your first website (back when geocities was still in), or a groan-inducing comment from a time you didn’t know better? If you said no to all that, good for you, but that doesn’t mean your personal information is safe.
If you find something that you want removed from Google’s search engine, you can request Google to remove it from their search engine results with its URL Remover Tool. Outside of this, you will need to talk to the people who own and maintain the site to get your data removed.
But if you’re only looking to reduce the visibility of your data online (because deleting yourself from the Internet completely is quite impossible), then these 5 tool can help you get started.
Recommended Reading: Do Not Track (DNT): Stop Websites From Tracking You
We have sites to help you find online accounts you have registered in the past that may still carry discernable personal information about yourself. You can’t be too careful while on the Web.
Just Delete Me is a wide directory of links to websites that you need to register to use. If you have a problem finding the place to initiate removal of your account, that’s what this site does for you – it takes you to the account deactivation/deletion page.
Also available is information on how difficult it is to delete your account from said site: easy, medium, hard, or impossible. Hard here refers to the involvement of customer service while under impossible, you can find suggestions on what you can get deleted e.g. you can’t remove yourself from Youtube without deleting your Google account but you can delete your channel.
AccountKiller is another site that collects direct links to the account termination page of many websites. It categorizes sites with a blacklist and whitelist. A site blacklisted by AccountKiller means that removing your account from a particular site is very hard or near impossible.
AccountKiller also adds useful information to each site they list. More importanlyt, they also give you tips on how to anonymize your account in the event that the service doesn’t allow you to fully remove your account.
Spokeo is a US-only aggregator service that collects user data from online and offline sources. The data collected may include home addresses, phone numbers, who you are related to, your marital status and even your personal value/income. Some of you may not be thrilled to have this kind of information so openly available on Spokeo. Fortunately, there’s a way to remove it from the site.
All you have to do is search for yourself on the site and copy the link of your ‘profile’. Then head over to this opt out page and paste the link there with your email address. You’ll receive an email with a link to remove your profile. Run a check to make sure that the profile has truly been removed.
A lighter version of the first two mentioneds sites is Delete Your Account. This one mostly gives you the steps and links required to remove your account from a particular service. There are also tips on what you should do before deleting your account or what might happen after account deletion.
This site is a very brief one and serves only as reference. If however you need help finding where you may have left your digital footprints online, the next tool can be of help.
Lost track of all the places you have registered previously? Try Knowem to locate those lost accounts. Knowem is a service that helps you check if your username is already in use in over 550 popular sites including social media sites.
While their service is to help you register and book your username or brand if it is absent from a social network, you can use for a different purpose, to locate your username on sites that you don’t want to use anymore. Removal of the info will have to be done manually though.