How to Find and Manage Your Online Data

Internet security has become increasingly important in the past few years. With several huge data breaches reported from a range of reliable websites and online services, along with increasing news regarding more diverse ways of hacking and getting private information online, it’s no surprise that online security has become a mainstream topic in the population. Regaining control over your digital footprint, or the data that is publicly available about yourself online has become a very important topic.

Knowing What’s Out There:

With the digitalization of our lives growing at a rapid speed, many of us are not always fully aware of just what data about us is actually available online. But there might be things like past blog posts or embarrassing photos lingering on the internet, which could cause problems in some situations, such as if a potential employer searches for you online. The first step is to find out what is out there, which can be more complicated than it sounds. Compile a list of all the online accounts that you have, and conduct searches for yourself on Google to see what comes up. Nuwber can also be very helpful; search your name on this site to find any public information about you online.

Removing Unwanted Information from Social Media:

Once you’ve found what’s available and decided what you would like to delete, it’s time to put together the right strategy for accomplishing it. This will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the data and where it is published. Most social media networks offer similar options for accessing and deleting your data. On Facebook, this involves accessing the settings on your profile and opting to manage your data, where you can decide how Facebook is able to use your data. The process is very similar to Instagram. If you want a social network to delete all the information that they hold on you, you will need to delete your account. Deactivating your account alone does not delete data.

Data Outside of Social Media:

It’s not just social networks that hold data on you. If you have a Google Account, for example, visit their privacy checkup page where you can double-check and make changes to your privacy settings. Here, you will be able to turn your location history on or off, track the content that you watch on YouTube, and determine whether or not you allow Google to track your activity on the web and when using their apps.

Closing Accounts:

Another good practice to use when managing the data that is available to you online is to close any accounts that you are not actively using. This could include social media accounts that you don’t use, online shopping accounts, and other online accounts that you do not visit. Doing this reduces the risk of the wrong people getting access to your data in the event of a data breach.

Removing Search Results From Google:

Finally, if you have found some sensitive data on yourself when conducting a Google search of your own name, you can contact Google to have it removed from search results. While this might not remove the data completely from the web if you are unable to have it taken down, it does mean that it will be harder for people to find when searching.