5 Ways To Delete Yourself From the Internet (And Reclaim Your Privacy)

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Gear-Tech

In its infancy, the internet seemed like a harmless space; somewhere to scour through cute cat pictures or shoot messages to an old acquaintance. But as the digital space has become the centrepiece of modern existence, your actions online no longer exist in a vacuum, and privacy is pretty much a myth. To make matters worse, almost every company—from giants like Facebook and Google to small-scale enterprises (yes, even your local coffee shop)—could have near-endless data on your browsing habits, purchasing decisions, aspirations and favourite roast.

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Understandably, you might just want out; to slip off the grid and disappear into obscurity. But deleting yourself from the internet is a challenging task, and even if you take the steps listed here, some whispers of your former digital presence will still linger in far-flung corners of the world wide web. 

With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can delete yourself from the internet (for good):

1. Use a VPN for Next-Level Privacy

Before we jump into some of the specifics of disappearing into the shadows, you should probably subscribe to a VPN service ASAP. These tools will first connect you through a proxy server from where you’ll be able to resume your usual browsing. 

Simply put, your activity will be masked, with others—especially those pesky data-hoarding tech companies—unable to track your digital footprints. We like NordVPN, but there are plenty of fish in the sea and most offer free trial periods so that you can test drive your new-found internet privacy.

2. Remove Yourself From the Search Results

Recently, Google rolled out a “Results about you” service that lets you request the removal of search results containing your personal info such as cellphone number, address or email deets. While those items will still exist on their respective sites, it will prevent your treasured info from showing up in Google’s search results. 

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3. Dam Up the Data Brokers

There are countless so-called data brokers across the world; enterprises hell-bent on gathering any info they can on those who make use of the internet. Head over to this site for a list of the plethora of companies engaging in these practices and opt out of letting them share your data with others. It’s a time-consuming process, but worth it if you want to make sure your info isn’t shared with anyone willing to pay the price of admission.

4. Think Carefully About What You Put Online

Don’t want others getting your info? Don’t put it on the internet. It might sound obvious, but we’ve all been a bit too liberal about the detail we share in the digital space. Plus, if you haven’t already tinkered with your privacy settings across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s time to go under the hood. The Washington Post has a great, comprehensive guide to the privacy settings you should tweak to make sure you’re flying under the radar.

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5. Go Offline (Completely)

You might not want to hear this, but deactivating your social media accounts is one of the most effective ways to reclaim your privacy. Think of platforms like Facebook as giant billboards broadcasting your personal info, pictures and opinions to anyone who has access. Sure, you could ramp up your privacy settings, but these sites are still collecting your info, and there are many ways for others to access your pages via third-party connections. 

Now, do we think this step is extreme? Of course. Taking the other actions listed here should get you back onto solid ground, but remember: if it’s ever necessary, pulling the ripcord (AKA disabling your accounts) is always an option.

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