I read an article on how to remove yourself from the Internet today which, at the start, gave the impression that deleting everything about yourself on the Internet is remarkably easy, and only takes a few clicks of the mouse to achieve. Further on in the article, it became clear that this is not the case, the removing your footprint from the Internet is a long, almost impossible task hardly worth pursuing. There are a few businesses which apparently offer this service, but they are expensive and cannot guarantee complete obliteration. Not even going through all the instances that you have registered yourself for something on the Internet and then deleting them can completely remove you. There are some sites which keep your information no matter what you wish, no matter what they promise.
There is, however, another way to not quite remove yourself from the Internet, but to move yourself within the Internet and become lost. And there are some services which help you with this, for free.
Screenshot Source: Mailfriends / Google
Simply entering information into the standard data fields on various web sites which insist on knowing all about you, for no good reason other than to sell your information or target advertising, is a good start, providing you are not planning on doing anything illegal on the site. My above example shows how the entering of information, which is essentially correct, in the wrong order has caused Google Maps to help, inadvertently, by moving Dortmund in Germany to somewhere near Milton Keynes in England. Having a throwaway mail account simply for confirming your membership – and handling the constant rubbish mail that some sites insist on sending you – with misleading location information is also good. Choosing usernames which have no relation to your real name, but could still be real, and employing different spellings for each web site helps too.
Deleting yourself from the Internet is practically impossible. Once you’ve started with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or even using Google as your search engine of choice, you’re in there for good. Information is recorded and kept, shares are made, there are conversations and interactions. Twitter is even archived by the Library of Congress. But a few simple, and fairly obvious, tricks employed along the way can remove the link between various Internet profiles and the real person in the real world.
- Viktoria Michaelis.