Michael Carrano is a mobile software engineer in NYC.
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Maintain Privacy Online
Published by Michael Carrano on August 27, 2013
Many people try to maintain their privacy online when they browse the web by using a browser plugin that blocks tracking scripts from loading. Millions of websites employ these tracking scripts to collect data about their website visitors and offer a personalized experience.
Blocking tracking scripts from loading is a great way to keep your privacy but online privacy goes way beyond just tracking scripts. There is a saying, “once it is online, it stays forever”. Simply put, it is nearly impossible to remove your data from the internet but you can be vigilant about it, and minimize the amount of data that is out there.
One area that I do not feel has received enough attention are websites such as PeekYou.com, that crawl the web to collect personal information from various sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and other open public record directories in order to create an online directory of your information for others to search.
So how do you remove your information from PeekYou.com? Well, it is quite simple to do but that is not the solution to removing your information online and from sites like PeekYou.com.
You need to first start with the sources of where PeekYou.com gathers the information. As already mentioned, they crawl Twitter, Facebook and open public record directories. I would first begin by making sure you have set the appropriate privacy settings for Twitter and Facebook.
While you are at it, review which apps you have allowed to see your Twitter and Facebook data. Remove any apps that you no longer use as they have access to your account data.
Now I have compiled a list of directories that may contain information about you and how to request your information to be removed. You will most likely need to continue to request your data to be removed on an ongoing basis.
PeekYou - Search for your profile on their site and keep track of the unique id in the url as you will need this when filling out their opt out form.
Spokeo - Search for your profile on their site and keep track of the url as you will need this when filling out their opt out form.
PeopleSmart - Required to create an account in order to save your preferences on who can access your data. Thankfully, your privacy settings are also applied to EmailFinder.com, FreePhoneTracer.com, and PhoneDetective.com.
BeenVerified - Search for your record and request to have the information removed. It is optional to create an account.
Intelius - Required to provide proof of identity in order to have your information removed. Valid forms of identification include drivers license, passport, or a notarized identification form.
Above is just a short list of the many people finder related services that may have your information. If you know of a popular directory that I missed, please let me know so I can add it to the list.
Further research into public databases (ie. provided by government organizations) needs to be conducted and I will update this blog post with more information.