Why You Should Clean Up Your Online Data
Your internet presence is made up of a number of different pieces of data. Data that is traceable through computers, smartphones, tablets, accounts, Wi-Fi networks, and much more. If you’ve ever used the internet, you have a presence online. If you haven’t cared or thought much about internet privacy, then that presence is available for pretty much anyone to see. A talented hacker, or even a not-so-talented one, can look back through your trail for all kinds of nefarious reasons.
However, thanks to the latest internet privacy tools available nowadays, you can cut those security concerns out of your life. All you have to do is make the decision to remove your old personal data from the internet. Here are some reasons why it’s definitely worth your time to do so.
It’s Not That Difficult
It may seem like a big job to clean up your personal data. After all, there are over a billion websites on the internet. While you surely haven’t visited all of them, you’ve probably visited a significant number. In fact, you likely visit dozens of web pages every day. After a while, cleaning up that footprint can seem like a staggeringly difficult task. Thankfully, most of your internet browsing hasn’t required input of your specific personal information. In that case, you can periodically clean up after yourself by going into your browser settings and clearing your browsing history, or cache.
More specific follow-up may be required with websites where you have an account or have input important personal information. Whether it’s just your name or goes as far as your phone number, home address or billing information, accounts can hold a significant amount of your data. By going back through the information you’ve posted online–and making sure it’s accurate and protected–you can make your everyday life a little safer.
It Can Start You on the Path to Better Overall Internet Safety
A surprisingly small number of people use VPNs and private browsers. As they hide your identity (VPN) or automatically erase your browsing history as you go along (private browsing), they are a great way to keep yourself safe on the internet. More and more experts recommend that you use private browsing as often as possible.
Starting your private browsing adventures with a clean slate will make you even safer. However, if you already have all sorts of personal information on the internet, updating your browser preferences now won’t really affect the way your previous information is handled. So, while utilizing one of these browser changes can definitely help the way your information is processed moving forward, it’s important that you clean up after yourself first.
Regardless of how you see it, if you’re privacy-savvy enough to use a VPN or private browser, you should be educated enough to remove online personal data.
It’s Easy to See What’s Out There
You likely haven’t posted your full name and home address on a public forum. But you may not know how much information about you is really available. The first step toward cleaning up your internet presence is to know what you need to clean up. That’s where a public records site like PeopleFinders can really help.
If you have a criminal history, you can do a criminal records search on yourself and see what turns up. Doing a people search on yourself can also help you very clearly see if there’s any inaccurate information out there about you. With that info in hand, you can contact institutions directly–the courts, DMV, county recorder’s office, etc.–to make any necessary changes to your public records, and clean up a history that doesn’t reflect the person you are today.
Although you might not find it the most interesting thing in the world, cleaning up your online presence is important. And even if you’re extremely dedicated to internet safety otherwise, it’s probably a good idea to go through your social media and general internet usage every so often to make sure nothing’s slipped through the cracks.
For more information about ways to protect yourself online, check out other articles on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo Credit: Chaay_tee – stock.adobe.comTags: Hacking, Online Safety, Safety Tips, Technology
Categorized in: Digital Identity