So many companies exist solely to gather your personal information and sell it to others: nosy neighbors, your employer, and most definitely the government (you might be surprised how much of Equifax and other consumer reporting companies’ business comes from the government). The information can consist of your address and other contact info, how much you paid for your house, public debt information, links to your family, and other intrusive details that you may simply prefer not to share with the world. But, it may seem like there are so many places on the Internet that have your data that going around and asking them to take down your data would be futile (or worse, be ignored by the data providers).
Actually, there are only a few big sources for data, and most of the vast quantities of data providers are simply resellers, and further, all of the big online data companies have opt-out policies that allow you to remove your listing from public view. A few clicks of some forms, sometimes with a copy of an ID attached (black out your ID card number before sending!), and you’ve disappeared from a large portion of the Internet — both the big databases and the resellers alike.
Here’s where to go:
- MyLife (find your profile and then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for removal)
This is one of a 30-part series, “No Surveillance State Month,” where daily for the month of June I’ll be posting ways to avoid invasion of your privacy in the digital age. The intent of these posts is not to enable one to escape detection while engaging in criminal activity — there’s still the old-fashioned “send a detective to watch you” for which these posts will not help. Rather, this series will help you to opt-out of the en masse collection of data by the government and large corporations that places Americans in databases without their knowing and freely-given consent for indefinite time periods. We all have the right to privacy, and I hope you demand it.