How popular are you on the internet ; Very often you end up finding your friends and colleagues just by doing some Google searches. Bad or good, you need to have the power to disable or enable others to find you through the internet. Your phone number, email address and how much you spent on that particular house, event might also be available online.
You may get surprised and unnerved to discover how much of your personal information is online. Any information reflected about you on the web is important, especially for people who prefer not sharing much about them to the public.
Here are some tricks and tools to wipe one’s identity, information and all their data from the internet.
Google : The Search Engine
Let’s start with this gigantic search engine. Google can index your posts, facebook status updates, tweets, your blogs, thing you commented at a forum or some other website. You might think that this isn’t cool but still it is there on the internet, where billions of people come and play every day. If the information is too critical such as if it contains your Bank account number, images of you, your signature, your digital alias, your name at any adult websites or any other confidential stuff, you can request Google to remove it.
Google accord sophisticated defined and transparent policy over such issues, and you can simply head over to the link https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals to request the removal of that page (image or other Google-hosted content such as on Blogger, Youtube) link where you find the offensive content and google’s webmasters will review the matter very soon.
Although it is advised that you contact the webmaster of the site that is hosting that content first and request him to take it down.
To know whether Google did removed that link, you can again visit the link of the site which had the offensive contents and this time it should return a “404: Page not found” error code.
If the specific content has been removed but its cache page can still be found, you can again ask Google to remove that content by mentioning the cache page’s URL.
One other thing that Google has been doing for a while is to keep record of your web searches and all the links you clicked. It doesn’t matter even if you clear your browser history these things just keep piling up there. To view and delete these search data, go to Web History Page, www.google.com/history, log in with your regular gmail ID, and click ‘Remove all Web History’ to clear everything or choose specific entries to remove the ones you want. If you don’t want Google to save your search data, you can click on Pause.
Social Networking Websites
With Social Searcher (www.social-searcher.com), you can check how much information about you is available on different social networking websites.
It also lets you search for your name on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Myspace and LinkedIn without needing to be logged into those services. The best thing about this service is that it not only returns profile results but also relevant posts, groups, events, videos, application and anything having the keyword searched name, so you can sometimes also check who has been talking about you.
Apart from finding information about yourself, you can also use this service to find your long lost friends. What else, there is a free app for Android as well! (Visit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wiwddev.socialsearcher&hl=en)
Delete your online accounts
Paul, senior editor at The Verge decided to go offline for a year! Many times we may also need to go offline, delete all our account and wipe all the information from all the websites, but that obviously will take a hell lot of time. Check out this life savior online service, Account Killer (www.accountkiller.com) which explains how to delete accounts from more than 450 websites! Yes facebook, twitter, gmail, ebuddy, skype, yahoo, msn live and all other popular services are there. For making things even more easy, it colour-codes all the service’s box according to how difficult they are to leave. For instance, Google is painted as ‘white’ because it takes only one click to wipe out google’s account, but iTunes has been given ‘grey’ colour, as you need to send an email to their support team with your username, date of birth and whatnot! Whereas sites such as skype, ebuddy, wordpress are flashed black, as it is almost impossible to delete your account from such services.
If you face any problem or find any instruction difficult to understand, you can use an alternate service called, Delete Your Account, www.deleteyouraccount.com for further recommendation and suggestions. They recently added support for removing your Gawker media accounts (Gizmodo, Life Hacker, io9), Dropbox, Tumblr and many other websites.
Another handy web service from Abine, called DeleteMe, https://abine.com/deletemedetail.php can help you remove your accounts and web traces.
Hide Your Facebook profile in searches
Facebook gives you the option to rule yourself out from Facebook public searches. Irony is that finding that option is itself isn’t very easily visible!
Here is how we find that: Go to Privacy Settings,
Roll down to the bottom, click on the ‘Ads, Apps and Websites
Then click the same option next to ‘Public Search’. Now untick the ‘Enable public search’ box to remove yourself from the search results.
Unlist yourself from online directories
Remember the people search engines where you could look for someone and find more details about them?
To get yourself unlisted from such websites, go to this useful website UnlistMy.info (www.unlistmy.info).
This website provides you simple instructions and contact details for online directories and databases. This is a very handy service as it as easy as filling out forms and emailing them to customer service department.
Make sure that your browser isn’t leaking any information
You can’t be sure of the functionality of all the plugins, add-ons, toolbars, extension you have installed on your browser. And then, many of our friends download cracked and pirated software from various file sharing and torrent sites, the thing is that whether you know it or not many key-loggers and Trojans are hidden from your view gets installed on your computer. Keyloggers can come as a app, could integrate itself with your browser and once settled, it records all the things you type and sends it to the criminal, every Google search you do is saved and sent to the criminal, you get the idea right? So to check whether your browser is practicing the same tricks, run a free online test at Stay Invisible (www.stayinvisible.com), this service thoroughly examines your browser including all the strings attached system fonts, your IP address, location, what plugins you have installed, and many other stuff including whether you have enabled cookies or not.
You will be amazed to see even the minute things that matters to your browser, in details.
Search for your ‘ancient’ accounts
We all have signed up for the same service for more than once. With time, spams and other reasons we let go our old IDs, but they can also be holding your personal data. Use this powerful-people search engine Pipl (www.pipl.com ), can help you trace your other accounts. It also searches court records, criminal background, image captions, videos comments and many other things to find you out.