If it isn’t the security worries, the possibility of the NSA tracking your every move, it’s the Facebook feeds cluttered with lunchtime photos and mommy stories. Eventually, you will consider erasing yourself from the Internet to get away from it all. The good news is, there is help if you do decide to (virtually) disappear.
With Edward Snowden’s recent revelation that the NSA is watching both our phone and web activity, more people than ever are looking for ways to protect their online privacy.
There’s not much you can do about the NSA and your phone (aside from not calling anyone) but there are a couple options for removing yourself from the Internet. You could, of course, just leave and forget about us and all of our cats, but if you want to delete your Internet presence, it will take a little more work.
Justdelete.me is an app that helps you out with this process. It has been described as a “massive list of links” that look like buttons. These links lead to popular web apps and services such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and even Amazon, PayPal, and some sites you’ve probably never heard of. Once you click on the link, you are taken directly to the page of the service that allows you to delete your account. This is a much easier method than having to hunt and find the link on each site yourself.
As surprising as it may sound, some sites just won’t let you delete your accounts, which brings us to the next best thing about Justdelete.me. If a site won’t allow users to delete accounts, it’s noted on JustDelete.me to raise awareness that there are websites that may not ever let you leave, as well as a little public shaming of these virtual captors.
DeleteYourAccount.com lists social media networks and websites along with instructions and links to deleting your profiles. There are even tips for reversing the process if for some reason you decide after deleting that you really don’t want to delete yourself. Wikicancel is similar, and provides guides and instructions for cancelling social media accounts as well as accounts with Sprint, Groupon, and LA Fitness, for example.
You may not be able to delete your entire Internet presence, because as they say, what appears on the Internet stays on the Internet forever, but these apps and guides will assist you in keeping as many details as possible away from the NSA. And, don’t worry. If you change your mind later, you’ll likely find us all still here hugging our cats and taking pictures of sandwiches.
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