If you find personal information about yourself on the Internet, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get that information removed.

In most cases, once information is on the Internet, it is there to stay. Whether other people can find it, depends on how easy it is to find through a web search engine.

Removing personal website

If you own the website where your information is found, you can remove the information from the web pages or you can delete the web page or website entirely. If you want to keep the information online, but do not want search engines to find the information, you can password protect the information. Or, set up a robots.txt file to indicate to search engines that all or part of your site should not be indexed. Keep in mind, however, that search engines crawling your site are not required to honor the robots.txt file.

Remove social networking site data

For social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, you can choose what personal information to displayed to other users. These settings are found through the Privacy settings in each of the services. However, some of the information may be publicly displayed or have the potential of being displayed in the future.

Removing information from someone else's website

If your information is on a website you don't control, you can attempt to ask the webmaster or web host of the site to remove your information. In some cases, after time they may comply with your request.

Removing link to a site from search engines

Many search engines have policies where they remove the links to sites based on the content. When we say "remove," we mean that the links are no longer indexed, but the information remains on the Internet. For example, Google may remove links to pages that contain any of the below personal information.

  • National identification numbers, such as U.S. Social Security Number, Argentina Single Tax Identification Number, Korea Resident Registration Number, China Resident Identity Card, etc.
  • Bank account numbers.
  • Credit card numbers.
  • Images of signatures.

Removal information from Google

Best practices to follow when posting information

As a best practice, always be mindful of what you divulge to anyone or any company on the Internet. On chat sites and social networking sites, if you don't want someone to spread information about you around the Internet, don't say it or type it. The best way to keep personal information to yourself is keep it personal, that is to say, keep it to yourself.

The Internet is vast, and word spreads fast!


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