Column: Can I be deleted from the web?

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Commentary by Feras Mash 

It seems everywhere we look or every time we turn on the news, another company got hacked and millions of volumes of personal information got stolen by thieves to be traded to other thieves. We then scurry to try and save our identities and accounts from being compromised and have to deal with all the frustrations that go with those activities. But what if we can just erase our identities online so no one can find us anymore? Is that a dream or a reality? In fact, there are ways one can delete his or her identity online and erase any web presence 99.9 percent of the time with an ongoing online monitoring. Recommendations are to:

  • Delete or deactivate your shopping accounts, social and web networks.
  • Remove or deactivate your data at collection sites.
  • Scour the internet for your name by Googling yourself and then send requests to websites that have your information.
  • Delete any search results pointing to you through Google.
  • Physically delete your email accounts. 

As you can tell, this is not easy and can be time-consuming. Many companies provide these types of services, and they range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, plus the cost of ongoing ID monitoring. These services range from credit-file reporting and monitoring all the way to true clear-web and dark-web monitoring and erasure of identities. 

It’s a big business that partially is driven by the hackers, but also by our privacy laws and needs to stay safe and private. 

So, what can you do to erase your identity? Follow the aforementioned recommendations and/or contact the credit bureaus and place monitoring on your file, including freezes. Then, contact private companies, like DeleteMe, which provide the niche service of online erasure and check the different ways they can remove your online Identity. Finally, if all else fails and you’re savvy enough, you can hire your own hacker to do all this for you.

So, yes, you can delete yourself form the internet and get your privacy back, but you need to fight for it.

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