Your digital footprint is a trail of your online identity that you leave behind as you use the internet. This data includes emails you receive and send, search queries, websites you visit, and information you surrender to various online services. The downside to this is that leaving all this data available for everyone to access can make you vulnerable to cyber-attacks and fraud. While it’s difficult to completely eliminate your digital footprint, it’s still possible to take some steps to reduce or erase most of your data on certain online databases.
Here are some strategies you can employ to keep yourself safe:
Look into the right to be forgotten
This ruling mandates that search engines may be asked to remove specific links to publicly available web pages on their search results. Through this law, you may be able to control what information is available about you on the internet. This is especially helpful for getting rid of outdated, untrue, or defamatory information about you. Filling up and sending in your application can be quite tricky, so it’s recommended that you seek the assistance of right to be forgotten solicitors to help you navigate the process.
Create an anonymous secondary email
Plenty of online services require you to enter an email address to register for an account and use their services. You can avoid leaving a trail that leads back to your personal email by creating an anonymous secondary email to use for these sites instead. Not only will you keep your digital footprint clean, you can always limit the amount of spam and marketing emails that clog up your main account.
Search for yourself
Perform a search for yourself on various search engines to see what results come up. If you see a result that is outdated or harmful to you, then you can either delete the account associated with the search result or request the webmaster to remove it for you.
Conceal your information with false information
Make sure to set all your accounts to private and delete any irrelevant or unused ones you have lying around. Some social media websites don’t permit you to completely delete your accounts, only allowing you to deactivate them. If you can’t completely get rid of an online account, then you can conceal your identity by supplying false information and completely deleting as much information as you can before
Get in touch with website owners
If you see a website with your public information on it, you can contact the website owner to see if you can get them to remove it. Don’t forget to be considerate and explain what information you want them to remove and why you need it taken out.
Use strong passwords
When you need to change the passwords to your old accounts or generate a new one for a new account, generate a strong and memorable one that makes use of symbols, numbers, and upper and lowercase letters. Avoid things like names of your family and friends, birthdays, or anniversary dates. Make sure that it’s easy enough for you to remember, but hard enough for a stranger to guess. You can also use a password manager to generate and store secure passwords for you.
Clean up your digital mess and make sure you stay safe with these practical strategies for managing your digital footprint.