How to Reduce Your Digital Footprint

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Every day, personal data is harvested, bought, and sold repeatedly. It is difficult to know who has your information, so it becomes a constant game of monitoring where your data resides, often only to find that it resurfaces someplace new.

Information on the internet is so pervasive that trying to wipe your information clean with a broad-stroke solution is next to impossible. Search engines — Google has the biggest footprint in this regard — continually aggregate information about people and businesses. Add to that your social media and website presence. All those bits and pieces of data about you make it nearly impossible to keep your name from appearing in search results.

Many data broker sites harvest your personal information, gleaning your life’s details from public records and your online activity. It’s a good practice to periodically search for news about yourself because data, once removed, can again pop up elsewhere.

You can make the job of cleansing your online identity more manageable by taking smaller, more targeted strokes that reduce the available information about you. Do what people hunters do — search for your name and see what details and web sources show up in the results.

Consider removing as much personal, intricate information as possible from what you do and say online. That includes photos and other family images, as well as apps such as Facebook and LinkedIn to restrict who has access to your most sensitive information.

As reported by