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Delete yourself from the internet. How To Erase Your Tracks Online

Want to disappear from the Internet, or start from scratch? Not easy to erase his tracks on a network that has an elephant memory. But it is possible to remove enough to be forgotten. Follow the guide !

Not easy to remake a virginity on the Web, to erase everything to make a new start … or to disappear, simply. Difficult, impossible even, to erase everything. But it remains possible, thankfully, to remove most of your digital traces. Without necessarily going through a society of “cleaners” professionals, which often cost a little expensive.

To disappear, there are not 36 solutions: you will have to delete all your online accounts, you “googlize” before disappearing search engines, contact webmasters or the CNIL, and delete your email addresses.

Before taking action, ask yourself the question: why do you want to disappear from the Net? Keep in mind that afterwards, it will be too late to go back. And also keep in mind that to avoid having to go back through it, you only need to be careful about what you share online – because once online, something never quite disappears. .

Bye bye, social networks

Let’s start with the most obvious – social networks. Leaving them will not be easy, as you are probably addicted, but this is a must, perhaps the most important step. Ignore the emotional blackmail of Facebook who will tell you, saddened, that leaving, “300 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you”, that “you will miss Emilie”, AurĂ©lie and Julien – and click “disable the account “or” delete the account “, in the settings.

Note, as I said above, that by deleting your account, you will not delete everything: your name and pictures of you will always be on the social network, since your friends will probably have published on their profiles. You will need to wait 2 weeks before your account is permanently deleted. Also note that it is possible, before leaving, to download a copy of your information – an “archive” of your data.

On Twitter, go to settings, and click “disable my account”. On Instagram, a dedicated page will allow you to delete your account. Ditto for Snapchat. Ditto, too, for most of the online accounts that you have created over time, on MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, eBay, Viadeo, Deezer, Yahoo, Past Buddies …

Looking for your old accounts

The majority of the sites offer a page dedicated to the deletion of the account. Others, rare, like Amazon, will ask you to send them a letter. This passage “manual” however is nothing in the face of the difficulty of compiling the list of all the accounts that you opened one day. It will surely be difficult for you to remember all the accounts created over the years during your explorations of the Net … is a very convenient site, which allows to find all accounts associated with your Gmail address. Simply sign in with your Google Account, so that the Swedish platform draws you, through Google’s OAuth protocol, a list of online accounts associated with your address – by the way, you’ll be aware of the risk of seeing your pirated mailbox, since it is enough for a hacker to penetrate to “force” all your other accounts. Deseat offers you next to each account listed, a link to the pages dedicated to its deletion.

Only drawback: for the moment, Deseat only works with Gmail accounts … It does not work with Outlook / Hotmail, Free, and even less, let’s be crazy, with antiques like Club Internet (SFR), Yahoo, or Wanadoo (Orange). The site should soon open to other mail servers, but probably not all.

To remember your old accounts, Account Killer, Just Delete Me and Knowem are very practical sites, which list you hundreds of sites you could have registered. Knowem, like the Namechk platform, check your username on most of the existing social networks.

And do not forget to delete the sites and personal blogs you created in your youth, as well as the accounts created on discussion forums – you probably left a lot of information about you.

Erase your tracks on the web and Google

To disappear completely, you must also, and especially, disappear sites that you do not control, and Google – the most used search engine in the world, which has an elephant memory and knows a lot about you, since your first hours surfing the Internet when you were 15 years old.

Go to Google, and type your first name and last name in quotation marks. After being “googlized”, find the sites that talk about you (blogs, personal sites, forums, etc.). Write down the complete addresses of the pages (URLs) targeted. All you have to do is contact the managers of these sites, and under French and European laws, ask them to modify or delete the pages concerned.

As advised by the CNIL, contact (diplomatically) the managers of the sites referred to, via the “contact” or legal notices. You can also enter the domain name of the site in the Whois World database, which provides the names and contact information of the site owners. The site manager has a period of 2 months to respond to your request to delete information. In case of absence of answer or unsatisfactory answer, you can address a complaint to the CNIL. If you do not know what to write in your request, the latter proposes a mail template to send.

Remain Google search results, especially its cache. The search engine keeps copies of indexed pages for about 3 weeks. To claim your right to be forgotten, fill out the online form offered by Google to request the removal of indexed results, and go to the “Search Console” to ask the search engine to delete the “content obsolete “stored in the cache. All requests are unsuccessful, and you may need to send a fax or paper letter to confirm your identity.

Disappear … never totally

If you do not have the courage to attack all your digital footprints, you can always call on one of the companies specialized in this field – professional “erasers”, web “cleaners” specialized in e -reputation “, like CSV and” Zen Reputation “. But for that, you will have to put money on the table … knowing that one can always legitimately doubt the effectiveness of such providers.

Because you have to know it: disappearing completely from the Internet is impossible. There are indeed “ghost webmasters” who have anonymized their information on Whois, using even sometimes false names and false coordinates, or whose sites are based abroad (and therefore difficult to attack by the CNIL). And as Rue89 explains, “in the face of a little more sophisticated tools like the Wayback Machine, run by volunteers who have already archived 85 billion web pages, there is absolutely no recourse”. Our advice will help you to “erase” as many things as possible, but never to disappear entirely from the Web.