Tips for Removing Your Online Data — TechVirtuosity

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Why it’s Important to Remove Online Data

Whether you know it or not, your data is worth a lot. Websites collect it, social media collects it and just about everything else collects it! In general it’s not always a bad thing but some things shouldn’t be shared online.

Removing your online data such as old logins, photos you uploaded or browsing habits can be beneficial. Continue reading to learn how and why to do it!

Figuring out What to Remove

Your data does have value for your online convenience. Facebook happens to use a lot of methods to suggest related products to you. In a way this could be what you want! But for some of us, we hate the idea of our data being monetized towards ourselves. Each person is different and you might want certain details kept online.

Being Careful What to Remove

If you have accounts online that you want to remain functional, you shouldn’t request to delete too much. This could cause them to not work anymore.

Some online accounts require your information to stay useful. However, if you do want to delete an online account, you can request that they clear your data off! This can also help to keep more of your data in one place.

Dealing With Nasty Cookies

Ever notice those popup boxes that want your permission to use cookies? Well, they are more or less simply tell you about their website using cookies for tracking.

You are stuck with any or all cookies typically while you are visiting a website, but you can delete them later. Either leave the website or delete them later by following some of “ these “ steps. Also, some cookies can be blocked entirely from the start.

Removing Your Online Data With a Request!

First you need to determine if it’s a website that lets you login or create an account. I am not referring to sites that let you use a social media account, because those social media platforms are the ones that are then responsible.

Websites like Amazon that let you create an account specifically on their site for purchases or conveniences, those are the ones to target. You are able to make a request on these kinds of websites and generally without losing functionality on other sites!

Tips for Making a Data Removal Request

A lot of countries are allowing users to have their data removed. Removing your online data isn’t that hard but it also isn’t guaranteed!

Start off by contacting the website through their contact page. State your name, email or other related credentials and then write your request. Specify the data that you want removed, because if you miss any details they might not get it all!

Always be kind and ask politely because some countries don’t require it by law.

Not Wanting to Remove Your Data?

There are other ways than removing your online data. You can ask these websites to tell you what they are using your data for.

In most cases you can find out about your data in the privacy policy agreement, but you may also make a request. This can be helpful if you have any questions about where your data is going.

Dealing With Plagiarism

This is becoming much more common. Some companies will steal your photos or ideas and then post them as their own. This has been a major issue on Facebook and other platforms. But sometimes scammers also use your information in Facebook cloning, so make sure you keep all your data safe.

You can put in a removal request if you ever see something taken without permission. This will help you to protect what is rightfully yours.

How Companies use Your Data for Profit

By now you might be wondering why you’d go through all this effort in the first place, well that’s simple, profit. Companies profit by holding your data but you are also going through these steps to reduce risks.

Hackers love stealing your data from the companies that hold onto it! That reason alone is enough to try and reduce data leaks of your information. It’s a serious problem that many companies are constantly battling.

Reducing Data Leaks Overall

The whole goal is to protect yourself. Data leaks happen way too often to simply overlook the companies storing your data! If they could guarantee that they could protect your data it would be one thing, but they can’t do that.

I pay attention to websites that store banking or credit card information, or related to that. Those should be your targets to reduce your risks. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does the website store any financial data?
  • Is personal data like photos or other information stored?
  • Does the data include addresses, phone numbers or emails?
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Eliminating Loose Ends

After asking yourself the above questions, now it’s time to act upon it. If you said yes to any of those questions then you have a significant risk. Even your address or phone number can be a risk because it allows hackers to gain access to your accounts, or to use social engineering.

Follow these the steps to eliminate some data risks.

  1. Send emails to request a disclosure document or information listing your data and what they use it for.
  2. You can skip step 1 if you already know and want to remove all data. Send in a removal request as I mentioned above.
  3. Check your emails “here”, to determine data breaches.
  4. If you show up on step 3, consider changing emails and passwords.
  5. Lastly, be careful where you share information in the future.

Many Legitimate Websites Sell Your Info

Despite doing all of the above, many real and popular websites sell your data. That’s how you get most of the spam or scam emails that arrive in your inbox. They sell your information and then in some cases, anyone can purchase it and try to use it against you.

Some companies only sell to other larger companies but that’s only some of the time. Be careful to not always hand out your email so easily.

Going Forward!

Now that you know some tips on removing your data, you should be able to increase your data safety! It’s impossible to always avoid risks but at least you’ll know how to figure out what your information is being used for.

Social media platforms are very popular for selling your data and they should be treated as such, if you have concerns. Only share what you would share with a stranger! Hopefully this helps and feel free to drop any comments or suggestions below!

Originally published at https://techvirtuosity.com on June 8, 2019.

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I'm a writer, blogger, technician and software developer. Writing is my passion that I do on the side. I love all things technology.

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I'm a writer, blogger, technician and software developer. Writing is my passion that I do on the side. I love all things technology.

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