We all have read the articles about how to manage one’s online presence. Some are geared toward potentially embarrassing things being found by a potential employer, others are intent on keeping one’s private information private.
A while back I bookmarked a couple of these articles with the intention of going out and getting my private info off of online databases. The first thing most articles suggest that one do is a google search on oneself. I did this and the amount of information that came back was horrifying. One site, that I have no connection with, had a map with a satellite photo of my house, information about every house I lived in since I turned 18, my age, and the names of my husband, brother, and father with their ages and addresses.
I see a lot of snarky comments from people that suggest this information is available because I must post it on facebook, but that is completely not the case. My profile has ALWAYS been private. I’m such a paranoid freak that, except for a small period of time after Facebook made yet another change to privacy settings, you can’t find my info in a facebook search. The only way to find me is to find someone who is my facebook friend and click through. And facebook wasn’t even around until I moved to my current home. My age has never been listed on facebook, and the birthday I entered is false. These places have my actual age, not my facebook age.
Anyway, I started with the first site that popped up in a google search and was horrified to see that you have to create a user account to have your data deleted. The second site with my info wanted an e-mail address so that they could “confirm” my identity. WTF? In order to remove MY data, because it is mine not theirs, I have to give these scumbags more data? I tried to find a way around this but haven’t found one. So I put the idea aside for several months.
Yesterday I decided to just suck it up and start again. A google search returned the following:
- LinkedIn account – This is acceptable. I want to be found this way.
- & 9. – race results – I wish my finishing time was faster, but I don’t mind showing up in these results.
- Netprospex.com – seems to be a sight that aggregates info from sites like LinkedIn so I guess I’m cool with that
- -15. Race results
- Race results
- Names.whitepages.com – again
- -22. Online posting of an intern job for which I was recruiting – The job is long gone so I don’t know why the posting has been up for so long (few years), but this is ok
- See 21 & 22
- Race results
I decided to start at the top.
Since I’m ok with LinkedIn, stop number 1 was names.whitepages.com. These jerks make you create an account. I did, sadly. Less than 24 hours later, my data is gone. But now they have a valid e-mail address. In the end, I’m not sure that I win. Maybe only because instead of any scumbag online being able to get my info, just that scumbags at whitepages.com have my info.
Intelius makes you send in a copy of your driver’s license. F$%^ers! Intelius tells you to black out your driver’s license number and your picture. Just blacking it out didn’t work on my copier. I had to use a paint marker until I was satisfied that no one would be able to read the stuff I was trying to black out. Otherwise, you could still read everything. I went further also. I blacked out my weight, height, eye and hair color, birthdate, and any other piece of info on my license. The only thing legible is my name and address. I don’t know if this has worked though. I still show up in a search currently.
I had to e-mail Mylife. Not sure if I’ve been removed yet or not.
Radaris has a profile. It’s old and lists me as residing in a previous house. It does have my correct age though. I followed their info removal instructions and they don’t work. When I search my name, at the top of the page is my name, age, and city of residence. Below is this long list of “related” names with addresses and phone numbers! And none of the addresses or phone numbers are blanked out. Full addresses and phone numbers are there. Because my name isn’t listed in the spreadsheet type format, I can’t select it to delete the info. Frustrating.
Pipl.com doesn’t give an option to remove one’s data. The site says that they merely aggregate (so, you know, they are absolving themselves of any responsibility) and helpfully recommends that you remove your info from all the sites from which Pipl pulls your info.
I went to scribd and still can’t figure out really what this site is so I’m going to skip it for now.
Peoplefinders has an online form to fill out. Once you have, you get a confirmation screen that LISTS YOUR IP ADDRESS!!!!!!!!!! Then, they try to convince you to buy, for $49.95, your profile from them. F U peoplefinders.
Ohio-voters.findthedata.org is truly disturbing. They list every election in which I have voted along with my stated party affiliation for each election. Additionally, they list the local ward in which I live. That identifies where I am down to a few handfuls of streets. The site also says that it won’t remove data which it has acquired through public records. How can this even be legal?
I am not even sure what the point of name-list.net is. I think they list names so that one can use them for characters in stories and games. How odd.
When I went to Whitepages.com to see if my info had been removed, I saw that they had sponsors that had profiles on me. Spokeo.com and Instant Checkmate.
I’ve already removed my 4 profile listings from Spokeo but had to provide an e-mail address to do so.
From Spokeo, I saw that I have a profile at addresses.com which lists my current complete address online. That’s just bulls%^t! I filled out their crappy form to remove my info, but you had to confirm your info in the form. I wonder how many of these places will just use my opt-out info to update their listings?
Just now, I did a Bing search on myself. I know no one uses Bing (except characters in shows that are sponsored by Microsoft – I’m talking about you Vampire Diaries), but I wanted to see if anything different came up. It’s mostly race results and the same scummy websites I found during my Google Search.
A new scumbaggy data aggregator I did find is emailphonedirectory.com. What a dumb name. I was going to remove my e-mail address, but based on the info they show (it’s partially blocked out), it’s a completely invalid e-mail address. I NEVER had an address that fit what they show. So not only are they scumbaggy, they are inaccurate.
A helpful blog is geekosystem.com/get-off-background-check-sites. It lists the main “offenders” for putting private info online/for sale along with links to opt out pages, and instructions.
I get that most of these sites are accessing public records. It’s one thing for someone to go in and request my information from a government agency. The requester may need to show identification and fill out a request. And then that person only gets one piece of data about me. No one should be able to do a google search and get my name, age, e-mail, addresses for the last twentysome years with a list of the years I lived in each place (that’s a special F U Mylife, you bast$%^s), a satellite image of my current home, my complete lifetime voting record with every election I’ve voted in and with which party I am affiliated, the name of everyone that I ever lived with or with whom someone that lived with me once lived with, and whatever else is out there that I didn’t find. These are not things that I agreed to share. These are not things that I have posted online. This is MY information. If I wanted it out there, I would put it out there myself. It’s complete crap that this is allowed to occur. Grumble grumble.