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Delete your trail on the Internet 


Surveillance

It is likely that if you type your name in Google you will find entries that you did not know existed.

From web pages with personal data such as your address or your phone to photographs that at the time you did not worry about uploading to the Internet, and even accounts that you created in applications that you hardly ever used.

As you browse and share information on the web, you leave a trail that anyone in the world can access without getting off the couch.

Deleting your “fingerprints” completely is complicated. But there are options to eliminate and keep track of the personal information that appears on you on the Internet.

Everything a user writes on social networks, blogs, forums or other services can appear on the Internet. It is possible to edit or delete much of this fingerprint manually.

To locate this content, it is best to go to Google and find yourself, writing your name and your last name in quotes, then patiently eliminate all that information.

The user can delete one by one each account that he has created in social networks and other services. But there are tools that make work easier.

For example, Deseat.me offers a list of all accounts that a person has created with a specific email and allows you to request deletion with the press of a button.

Meanwhile, AccountKiller collects direct links to make it easier for any user to delete their account on sites such as Gmail, Instagram, Netflix or Microsoft.

Do you want to get rid of your online account? It shouldn’t be a problem, right? Unfortunately, in many sites, including popular ones like Facebook, deleting your account can be a real pain.

Completely removing your “fingerprints” is practically impossible. Once we publish information on the Internet we lose control over it and we don’t know who can access it and for what purpose.

Once we publish something on the web, we lose control over that content. If we publish a photo on a social network and subsequently delete it, we cannot be sure that people who have accessed the photograph have not published it on other websites and, therefore, its deletion is much more complicated. ”

How to delete the information

The European law of the Right to Forget allows you to directly ask Google to unindex certain information. That is, when someone uses the search engine, a specific website does not appear among the results. There is a form to do it. The user must indicate one by one which links they want to be removed and indicate the reason.

Google may withdraw personal information that poses a significant risk of identity theft, financial fraud or other specific damages.

For example, identification numbers such as ID or health card information, bank account or credit card numbers, medical records, images of signatures or photographs of explicit sexual content uploaded to the web without your consent.

But the option of asking Google to delete certain information has its limitations. Filling out a form does not guarantee that the data will be deindexed.

The Mountain View company reviews the links one by one and chooses whether to de-index them or not. When you send a request, Google looks for the balance between the rights to privacy of the affected users, the public interest that this information may have and the right of other users to distribute it.

For example, the company may refuse to withdraw information about financial scams, professional negligence, criminal convictions or official conduct.

In addition, this form only guarantees the withdrawal of data within the European Union. Therefore, the data will continue to appear in the international versions of the search engine.

Other search engines

Google is the undisputed leader of search engines. In 2018, 96% of user searches were performed through Google. They are followed by Bing, with 3%, and Yahoo, with 1%.

Even so, experts also recommend controlling what appears in these alternatives.

The above process is only applicable to Google. Yahoo and Bing have their own form to exercise our right to disappear from the network. In both search engines, if they accept the request, the content would only be removed in Europe.

Experts agree on the importance of controlling which websites you sign up for. There must be prudence before using Internet tools. Not only of those in which we publish information directly, such as blogs or social networks but of the trail we leave, for example, when searching or browsing.

In this sense, it is recommended to periodically delete cookies, use VPNs (virtual private networks) or to opt for alternative Google search engines designed to navigate without a trace, such as Duck Duck Go and Startpage.

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About the author: Luis R. Miranda

Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder & editor of The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 23 years in every form of news media. He writes about environmentalism, education, technology, science, health, immigration and other current affairs. Luis has worked as on-air talent, news reporter, television producer, and news writer.

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