Google your name – go ahead. Include some easily discoverable facts: the city where you live, the name of your employer, and maybe your middle name.
If you’re like most people, the results page will be full of data brokers offering your address, your phone number, your email, the names of your relatives and their addresses, and so much more. In a world rife with random scams, this is a problem.
Thankfully, there is something you can do about it.
While removing all personally identifiable information from the internet is extremely difficult, there are a few simple steps you can take to snip the low-hanging fruit. If you’re simply worried about your privacy in general, then this act of privacy hygiene can go a long way.
A good first stop is the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit “dedicated to reimagining privacy in a digital era.” The organization has an extremely detailed opt-out list for data brokers, with the respective links and steps needed to remove your info from the companies’ sites. More broadly, the WPF put together what it calls the top 10 opt-outs — a detailed step-by-step guide to pulling your information from the data brokers of the world.
Want the schools you’ve attended to stop releasing your home address and phone number? Check the FERPA opt-out information. How about an easy and direct way to get on the National Do Not Call Registry? WPF has that, too.
Ready for more? Stop Data Mining Me, a website that bills itself as the “Do Not Call” list for data brokers, has its own opt-out list. Consumer Reports also has a helpful list of its six recommended opt-outs.
Importantly, the above is by no means an exhaustive list, and should not be considered that way. However, if you have a morning to spare and want to better protect your privacy, it’s a great place to start.
So go ahead and get clicking. Your newfound privacy will thank you later.
Want some help? Feel overwhelmed? You could use a good Macintosh consultant from Denver – We are here to help you. Contact us and we will get it done together!