How to remove your personal information from the Internet?
Updated: Jun 7
For some people removing personal information from the Internet is critical. There are many reasons why someone would want their personal information removed from online properties. Obviously if the personal information is hosted on a website that you have access to you would not ask this question as all it takes is logging-in and removing the information yourself.
In a lot of cases however, the individual no longer has access to these web pages because they either forgot their usernames or passwords, or the information is controlled by someone else.
Before you continue reading this post on how to remove personal information online, you need to understand that it is your right to have personal and private information removed from any web page once requested.
What constitutes personal information?
Personal information includes your name, phone numbers, email addresses, banking information, physical addresses, health information, Social Insurance Identification Numbers, personal pictures posted without consent, etc. Opinions about you or your business are not classified as personal information and require a different process to remove.
How do I remove my personal information from the Internet?
1) Use Google do search for your full name and take note of every website that has a record of your personal or private information.
2) Find through WHOIS, the proper contact information of each website. Do not depend on the contact information on their website itself as some of these websites have millions of visitors and are very busy.
3) Write a compelling letter and request the removal of your personal information. Send the letter via registered mail to make sure the website owners or administrators receive the request and know you are serious. Email sounds more convenient, but it is not as effective as registered mail. The tone of your mail has to be polite but affirmative. Using legal language and references to some privacy laws in your country will get you better results.
It is a good idea to include in your request to remove the personal information how it is affecting your life (harassment, etc)
4) At this point, all you can do is wait for a response. In some cases, you will never get a response and your private information will remain online. In other cases, the website will respond with a No, we will not remove the information. If the information was submitted by the end users and not the website administrators themselves, they will reference the Freedom Of Information Act.
What should I do if the website refuses to remove my personal information?
We discussed earlier that it is your right to get any and every personal information removed from the Internet. If your requests lead to nowhere, then your strategy has to change.
Get the violating website reported to Google. Again you need to send a registered mail to Google outlining the steps you took so far with the violating website and their response. Google means business and are very serious about their content and they respect the law. This step if done professionally will get Google alarmed, and they will de-list (De-Index) the website from their index. This way no one can find your personal information when they search for your name on Google. This could take some time.
For those who mean business, the best way to remove your personal information from the Internet is to go to court. A Judge will issue a court order in a heart beat to force any website to remove your information.
At SwiftlyLabs we help customers everyday with removal of their personal information from the Internet, you can read about our Content Removal Services and call us today for a no obligation quote.