Evaluating Your Electronic Profile When you make purchases online, tap or click advertisements, follow links, and complete online forms requesting information about yourself, you are adding to your electronic profile.While an electronic profile may help businesses guide you toward products and services that are of interest to you, some people view them as an invasion of privacy. The following steps guide you through the process of locating online information about yourself and taking steps to remove the information, if possible.
a. Run a browser.
b. Navigate to a search engine of your choice.
c. Perform a search for your full name.
d. In the search results, follow a link that you feel will display a webpage containing information about you. If the link’s destination does not contain information about you, navigate back to the search results and follow another link.
e. Evaluate the webpage that contains information about you. If you wish to try removing the information, locate a link that allows you to contact the site owner(s) or automatically request removal of the information.
f. Request that your information be removed from the website. Some websites may not honor your request for removal. If you feel that the information must be removed, you may need to solicit legal advice.
g. If the search results display information from an account you have on an online social network, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you may need to adjust your privacy settings so that the information is not public. If the privacy settings do not allow you to hide your information, you may need to consider deleting the account. h. Repeat Steps d – g for the remaining search results. When you no longer see relevant search results for the search engine you used, search for other variations of your name (use your middle initial instead of your middle name, exclude your middle name, or consider using commonly used nicknames instead of your first name).
i. Use other search engines to search for different variations of your name. Some search engines uncover results that others do not.
j. If you have an account on an online social network, navigate to the website’s home page and, without signing in, search for your name. If information appears that you do not want to be public, you may need to adjust your privacy settings or remove your account. k. Follow up with requests you have made to remove your online information.
1. What personal information have you uncovered online? Did you have any idea that the information was there?
2. What additional steps can you take to prevent people and businesses from storing information about you?
3. What steps might you be able to take if you are unsuccessful with your attempts to remove online information that identifies you?