Your business, or at least your contact information, is on the internet…everywhere! Let me show you something, right now you can find at least 50 websites that will provide your personal information to any one who pays them and sometimes its free! And what do I mean by personal information? Well here is just here is just some of the commonly available information found on the internet;
- Phone number
- Marital Status
- Friends and roommates
- Spouse & Children’s names
- Traffic convictions and arrests records
- Associations and affiliations
Now add to that the kind of information you openly provide on your Facebook or social media page like;
- Favorite music, television shows and movies
- Favorite place to eat, drink and shop
- Recent accomplishment/achievements
- Friends names and birthdays
- Sexual preference
- Recent illnesses of yourself or parent’s
- Parent’s birthdays and maiden name
- Your car, boat or other vehicle
- Vacation plans
I don’t need to to tell you but that is quite a haul of personal information and that is really just the tip of the iceberg. If someone wanted to dig into your life they could gather a lot more information just because you are online. Just check out the top ten people search websites. Let me be clear privacy is a precious thing but the internet and big data brokers have destroyed it. Its gone!
Can you disappear from the internet? Yes and and no. Nothing is every permanently deleted from the internet. So you can try but there is no guarantee.
Fortunately one of the biggest data collectors, Google, is offering to help you at least get off their property. Google recently announced that you can now submit removal requests to eliminate your personal data from showing up in a Google Search result. I’m guessing that is not something Google is happy to do since they have never made it easy to get off their platform before. If you have never experienced it you could be in for a shock if you ever Google your name. As I have said before you will find your email address, phone number, or home address and other stuff show up in a Google search result. Now is the time to take action to protect your privacy…or whats left of it.
Now Google will not only remove your personal data but is considering removal requests for images of minors, deepfake pornography, and other explicit content. Now I said before that nothing is ever totally deleted from the internet so some websites will still have, or even display, your information. Google Search won’t remove those web pages from the internet, it will divert one of the biggest drivers of traffic.
Just remember that. There’s no guarantee that unwanted search results will disappear completely. No way! But your request could help remove the webpage from all searches on Google, only searches involving your name, or none of the above. For more information about pulling off a digital disappearing act, check out the tips on deleting yourself from the internet from Matt Burgess.
You can then specify the types of personal information Google will show in its search results, such as your contact details or driver’s license. These steps are only for removing results from live websites, you need to complete a separate form for cached pages. Check the box indicating that the content is live. The next question asks whether the request pertains to doxxing, which Google defines as “contact information being shared with malicious, threatening, or harassing intent.”
Google then requests your full name, country of residence, and email. You are only permitted to submit take down requests for results pertaining to yourself or someone you officially represent such as a minor child or or other legal dependent.
Now here is where things get a little hairy. You can submit up to 1,000 links. So now you have to tell Google where the offending information or image is located. So does the fact that Google allows you to submit up to 1,000 URL’s tell you something about the number of websites and amount of information there is about you online? Google asks for the URLs of the offending content or image, and the company wants you to share the search results where it shows up. For more directions on gathering these links, check out Google’s guide to finding content URLs, image URLs, and search results page URLs.
Now you know.