HWM (Singapore) - - LEARN -

“You could sit at home and do like, ab­so­lutely noth­ing and your name goes through like 17 com­put­ers a day… We have no names man, No names.”

That’s a quote from the movie Hack­ers back in 1995, but if ever there was a time it was more ap­pro­pri­ate, it’s now. What with the ad­vent of Cloud stor­age and ser­vices, our data is pass­ing through more com­put­ers than ever.

For the most para­noid of us, here are some (dras­tic) ways for you to re­duce your on­line foot­print. Think of them as your dig­i­tal tin foil hat.


The first and sim­plest thing to do would be to delete the ac­counts you don’t use. If delet­ing your ac­count isn’t an easy op­tion, change your con­tact de­tails to some­thing else (a quick Google search and some imag­i­na­tion will eas­ily help with this).


Re­mem­ber all those mail­ing lists you signed up for just so you could take part in some lucky draw? You want to go through your email fold­ers (in­clud­ing the junk and deleted mail fold­ers) to un­sub­scribe from each and ev­ery one. On that note, stop en­ter­ing lucky draws on­line if you want to keep your de­tails pri­vate!


If you’ve ex­hausted ev­ery op­tion and you live in Europe, then try writ­ing to Google di­rect and make a “right to be for­got­ten” re­quest.

Al­ready, more than 144,907 re­quests have been made to Google to take down links to spe­cific search re­sults on some 497,507 dif­fer­ent web­pages - all be­cause the Euro­pean Union Court of Jus­tice ruled on 13 May 2014 that Euro­peans had the right to ask search en­gines to re­move links to search re­sults where “the in­ter­ests in those re­sults ap­pear­ing are out­weighed by the per­son’s pri­vacy rights”.

An au­to­mated form has been set up to fa­cil­i­tate the process, but it’s im­por­tant to note that Google can­not re­move the con­tent it­self; only the search re­sult links to it. For now, the rul­ing is only be­ing up­held in the Euro­pean Union but peo­ple with pri­vacy con­cerns would do well to watch if it the “right to be for­got­ten” is even­tu­ally ex­tended world­wide


Can’t re­mem­ber what fo­rums you’ve signed up for any more? Try Googling your­self and see what comes up. Then get to work re­mov­ing your­self from what comes up. Con­tact the web­sites that have you fea­tured (pre­sum­ably in a bad light) and ask them to re­move the of­fend­ing ar­ti­cle. If that fails, try con­tact­ing the web­mas­ter for their host server. Another thing to try is the search en­gine on pipl.com which pulls up a sur­pris­ing amount of in­for­ma­tion based just on your name and lo­ca­tion.

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