Cleaning Up Your Digital Self: Protect Your Privacy and More
As a society, we seem to be on a privacy kick as of late. It's as if we've started to [finally] catch up with the implications of share, share, share.
Earlier today I came across a service that helps you remove personal information from various "people finder" sites across the web. Safe Shepherd has both free and premium products that help you track…yourself and then remove information from other sites.
Piqued, I visited a few sites and was shocked at how much information these sites had on me. Granted, all of this is public information, but nonetheless, it's disconcerting to realize just how easy it is for others to find out your street address just by knowing your name and the city you live in.
One site [pictured below] had pulled in social media accounts, personal websites, and even a picture used on a social network. Others were able to tie me to family members due to shared addresses
Because of this, I'm going to start doing a few things to help protect my privacy.
- I've installed a browser extension, Ghostery, that blocks tracking elements from all kinds of vendors
- Setting my iPhone and iPad up with lock codes and to use private browsing at all times. Since I use these on the go more often than my computer, the risk of losing them and then having someone open up Safari and going through email, calendar, etc. is too high
- Lastly, I'm going to spend some time going through these sites and requesting removal. Thanks to this handy list from reddit, it hopefully won't be too big of a pain, though maybe I'll end up signing up for Safe Shepherd for a few months to make it easier
- Signing up for a PO box, moving to the mountains in W. Virginia and going off the grid.
In any case, I suggest you take a few minutes to review what these sites know about you.
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