How to protect personally identifiable information (PII) from search engines – News Couple
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How to protect personally identifiable information (PII) from search engines


Cyber ​​security first

we dedicate October For cybersecurity awareness, this week’s topic will be the cybersecurity mindset first. Please enjoy reading this post about being your customers’ first line of defense against bad elements. was originally Posted by Sucuri, a recognized leader in the field of cyber security.

In today’s internet age, we take our privacy for granted. We subscribe to many “free” services. We share gifts and generally give information about ourselves all the time to websites that may not have a good reputation and hardly anyone reads their privacy policy or terms of service.

Sell ​​private information

In many cases, those “free” sites sell our personal information to data brokers. They, in turn, sell access to our information to anyone who wants to find us, arguing that you can find your long-lost friend or family. But this information can also be used by criminals and anyone who wants to harass or stalk you.

California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This law went into effect on July 1, 2020. You should be able to request removal of your information from these sites if you live in California. Many websites also add a “don’t sell” button on their pages, allowing you to opt out of your information being sold to third parties.

Much of the information collected comes from public records, mailing lists, surveys, public social media profiles, and other private sources. Data brokers make money from your public information by selling it to third-party websites.

Examples of websites that buy private information

Most of these third-party sites will have a way to opt out and remove your information, but this is not always the case. In this article we want to dive into this topic and find out what we can do to keep our information as private as possible.

Block bots

Tracking cookies and JavaScript can be blocked via your browser. I recommend using an extension like uBlock Origin for Chrome and Firefox (found in their respective repositories). These cookies and JavaScript are used to collect information about you, what you are interested in, the websites you visit and more. In most cases, the information is used to serve relevant ads, but not always.

This is what the uBlock Origin plugin will look like once it’s installed and running. You can see what has been blocked and you can add domains to the whitelist if you see any issues:

The extension/plugin will block ads, trackers, and malware, so it has multiple purposes. But you can disable some of these features and have them only block trackers. This can be done from the extension/plugin settings under the filter menus:

You can see from the screenshot above that you can disable some filters and even add your own. Just make sure that the auto-update feature is turned on and that the extension/plugin is active while browsing the web.

Ghostery is another extension/plugin that can block various online bots and ads for you. NoScript is also a good addon/plugin, especially if used with one of the other plugins, it can block bots and javascript on websites and allows you to specify which domains can load javascript on that specific page. It might be a bit tricky for beginners.

Use a PO Box

You can have a US PO Box and use it as your delivery address if you sign up for websites you don’t trust. Using a mailbox can help keep your real address away from these search engines and provide you with a level of anonymity. All mail sent there will be safe and sound at the post office.

You can also use a fake email and address on any site that you don’t trust, and don’t expect them to send you anything. This can also help you keep track of who sold your information, depending on the name/email you used.

Using a Google Voice number

Instead of using your real phone number, you can always use your Google voice number and forward it to your real phone so you still get important phone calls and messages. You can always change your Google phone number if necessary. This will help you ensure that your phone number is not published on these people’s search engine sites, and helps you filter out spam and calls/spam:

Removal from people search engines

It is not always easy to remove your information from these search engines. You can usually go to their website and find the opt-out form. But sometimes it is buried inside the site. There are also online services that can help you remove your information. They pretty much fill out opt-out forms for you and you just have to wait for a confirmation email and click on the link to remove it from the given search engine.

Opting out of the Direct Marketing Association (many companies use this list to remove people automatically).

Spokeo.com

Withdrawal by: website

Notes: Find your profiles and submit them via the web form. It will be removed in a few days.

PeekYou.com

Withdrawal by: website

Notes: Find your profiles and submit the unique identifier from them to remove them.

Pebble

Notes: Refuses to allow unsubscribe. Often incorrect information is collected over the Internet.

WhitePages.com

Notes: To remove information, you must first create an account. Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Epsilon Data Management, LLC

Withdrawal by: Email, phone and mail

email: privacy@epsilon.com (US), emeaprivacy@epsilon.com (EU/EEA), apac-privacy@epsilon.com (Asia)

phone: 1-888-780-3869

Notes: Epsilon is one of the largest data brokers and has purchased many smaller data brokers for their databases (such as Abacus Corp). The process of canceling a subscription may take up to three months.

Intelius, Inc.

Withdrawal by: Website, fax or mail

Fax: 1-425-974-6194

Notes: Intelius operates several “people search” and “background check” sites. This withdrawal form will be applied to all of them. You must provide an ID (by fax, scan, or mail) to unsubscribe.

Verified

Withdrawal by: Website or email (privacy@beenverified.com)

Profile search: https://www.beenverified.com/f/optout/search

Notes: Profile removed within 24 hours via the site.

people are smart (“Email Finder,” others now run by BeenVerified)

Withdrawal by: Website, email or mail

Profile search: https://www.peoplesmart.com/optout-go and http://www.peoplefinders.com/manage

email: privacy@peoplesmart.com

Notes: People Smart offers an API for businesses, so opting out here may remove data from other sites. Find your profile without city and state to get all results. It may take 3 to 14 days for the data to be removed. Find the information and click “This is me”, then click “Unsubscribe from my information” on the next page. You may need to check in in the cities you used to live in to find your profile.

Peoplelookup.com (Intelius) Spock.com

Withdrawal by: Use the Intelius method to unsubscribe above.

PeopleSearchNow.com

Withdrawal by: Mail

Notes: They ask people Fill out a form.

Find people in the USA

Withdrawal by: email

Notes: Search the database, find yourself, then select that record for removal.

Browse safely!

There are many brokers and companies selling your information and I can’t list them all. You can find several of them on these pages along with instructions on how to remove yourself from them:

Be safe online and don’t give out your personal information to anyone. Companies take advantage of your information and this is also how scammers get our information and start calling us at all hours of the night. This is how people get scammed and lose thousands of dollars thinking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called them, or they won a gift or whatever scam is going on right now.



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