how to minimize your digital footprint

Answer
Here are some tips to minimize your digital footprint:

Limit Social Media Use

  • Delete old social media accounts you no longer use14. This will remove personal data associated with those accounts.
  • Limit number of active social media accounts to ones you actually use regularly2.
  • Review and update privacy settings on accounts to limit sharing2.
  • Avoid posting too much personal information like phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, etc5.

Be Cautious Browsing the Web

  • Use incognito or private browsing mode which doesn't save browsing history3.
  • Avoid online surveys which collect personal data2.
  • Use a VPN to mask your IP address and location3.

Manage Online Accounts

  • Delete old unused email accounts14.
  • Create unique complex passwords for each online account4.
  • Remove yourself from data broker websites that aggregate your information14.
  • Log out of accounts after using services so you aren't tracked4.

Other Tips

  • Limit use of loyalty programs that track purchases5.
  • Use cash instead of cards when possible to limit digital payment trails5.
  • Google yourself periodically to see what information can be found about you online6.
Following these tips can significantly reduce your digital footprint and increase online privacy. But it's impossible to completely erase your footprint, so focus on limiting future tracking and removing old unused accounts and data.
what are data broker websites and how to remove yourself from them
Answer
Here are the key points on data broker websites and how to remove yourself from them:
  • Data broker websites aggregate and sell personal information like names, emails, addresses, phone numbers, browsing history etc. They collect this data from various online and public sources12.
  • To remove yourself from a data broker website:
  1. Find their opt-out page, usually at the bottom under "Privacy" or "Your Privacy Rights"34.
  2. Search for your name or email to find your listing. You may need to verify your identity4.
  3. Follow the opt-out or data removal process specific to that site. This usually involves checking a box or clicking a link to confirm removal3.
  • Alternatively, you can use a paid service like DeleteMe or Incogni which will automate the opt-out process across various data broker sites for you35.
  • Even after opting out, your information may still exist in backups or databases. So continue to monitor your listings periodically4.
  • Prevent future collection by being cautious of what personal information you share publicly online, using a VPN, limiting loyalty programs etc6.
  • While data brokers are legal in the US, their practices raise privacy concerns. So removing yourself can better protect your personal data2.
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