The social media giants of the world are being pressured by people who are getting sick and tired of their personally identifiable information (PII) being shared. They’re losing faith in being able to keep it secure and private.
Google is no exception to this as it stores a plethora of personal information such as search history, home address, age, political preferences and much more.
You may want to remove your info from google to ensure more privacy. After all, we all have private facts, photos and past statements that we’d prefer aren’t out there for the world to see.
Below are steps to follow to do your best to remove everything Google knows about you.
1. See what comes up about you in search engines
Doing an exhaustive search for yourself on web search engines is a good first step in how to delete your personal information from Google. Once you find what’s floating around about you out there, you’ll have a better idea of the steps you need so you can make a plan to make it go away.
2. Remove your address from Google
If you want to go incognito, you can request that Google hides photos of your car, house or apartment and address number. To ask for a blur over them, follow these steps:
- Open Google Maps or the Street View gallery
- Look up your address
- Find and open the photo you want blurred
- In the bottom right, click “Report a problem”
- Complete the form and submit
3. Go private on social media
Let’s face it, we all post too much, right? And when we do, strangers are able to learn a heck of a lot about us. One easy fix is to make your updates visible to only your friends and family.
There are slightly different processes for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but they all involve going into your account’s privacy settings and toggling your account to be private.
If you really want to make your social media go away forever, you could always delete your accounts. These days, it’s not the craziest idea.
4. Get in touch with the site owner
One overlooked solution is to get in touch directly with the source. If you find unwanted info about yourself on the web, consider contacting the site either by selecting “Contact Us” or looking up the owner on Whois.com. Firmly ask them to remove the offending info. If it’s copyrighted information, you could should reference the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to spur quick action.
Personal Information Removal Request Email Template
Check out this email template, which you may find helpful to get the ball rolling.
Dear [INSERT NAME]
I’m inquiring about [INSERT PAGE], which contains personal information about me that I no longer wish to be public. Please consider this my formal request that you remove it as it’s infringing upon my privacy rights. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
[INSERT YOUR NAME]
Finally, you could also file a legal request with Google to have sensitive info removed, with things such as explicit images, financial or medical info, and “doxxing” info.
5. Take your name off ‘people search sites’
People search sites are websites that store public information that could allow strangers to learn more about you and target your PII. Getting off these sites can make it harder for Google to query your information.
There are 7 primary ‘people search sites’ that store information about individuals: Intelius, Classmates.com, iSearch, Peoplelookup, PublicRecords, ZabaSearch, BeenVerified, and Whitepages.
It’s not that difficult to opt-out of these sites, but each one has a slightly different process for removing yourself. Below is a step-by-step guide for how to remove your information from most sites with one request.
How to quickly remove your info from ‘people search sites’
One of the biggest data brokers on the web, Intelius owns many people search sites like Classmates.com, iSearch, ZabaSearch, Peoplelookup, PublicRecords and others. You used to have to fax your driver’s license to remove yourself, but the company has since improved the process. And if you remove yourself from Intelius, you remove yourself from all of its sites.
- To get started, click on this link and enter your name and email address.
- When you find your records, click Select and Continue.
- On the next page, enter your email address to confirm your identity and fill in the CAPTCHA code. Then, click Continue.
- Open your email and look for a message from Intelius. Click the link inside to continue. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam folder.
- You’ll get a confirmation email with a reference number once the process is complete. It can take up to 72 hours for the opt-out to fully process.
- After 72 hours, look yourself up again on Intelius. If your info is still showing after you got your confirmation, send an email to CUSTSER[email protected] and include the confirmation number you received.
6. Make your Google history…history
The last step to get your information off of Google is to delete your search history from your Google account.
After clearing your search history will no longer be visible to google (aka the entire world).
How to remove search history from Google
But you’re not done yet. Scroll down the page to Activity and timeline and click My Activity.
That page is the hub for all activity-related options. To get rid of your search history, scroll through Google’s records for items you want to remove and click the 3 dots button on the right-hand side of each item.
How to keep your search information private
You’ve deleted your search history from google but what about your future internet activities? To keep your search history private from google, here are a few tips to follow:
- Use anonymous search platforms like duckduckgo that do not track your search history
- Use a VPN if you have one
- If you are using chrome, use an email profile specifically for the browser
- Clear your browser cache frequently
IDShield is here to help
For more tips on how to protect your personal data from identity thieves, how to protect your online identity and reputation, and how to delete information from Google, IDShield offers one-on-one consultation to ensure your private information remains private.
IDShield is your all-inclusive solution to identity protection, monitoring, and restoration. It now brings you enhanced privacy and reputation management consultation.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see www.idshield.com. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice or assistance. If you are a LegalShield member, you should contact your Provider Law Firm.