The first factor that a person realizes when trying to remove their personal information is that there is no one place to do it all. Whether online, at courthouses, phone directories, address or people locators, there are a multitude of sites where your information can be found by the public. Removal of your personal information online will not be a one step simple process. Generally, it is nearly impossible if not virtually impossible to remain completely out of all public records and online databases.
It is important to distinguish between personal information and private information. Personal data is not always private. Your name, location, address, property ownership, court cases and many others are available as public records. The government has a duty to provide public information by statute while in accordance with privacy laws.
There are steps that can be taken by an individual or business in attempts to remove personal information that is readily available. Just as there are methods used to gather information, there are methods that can be used to remove your personal data. Here are some popular approaches.
Available automatic redaction online of personal information from databases
Removing your information can sometimes be as easy as an online automatic redaction of personal data. A number of databases will provide an automatic redaction link, forms, process, instructions or any other method offered on their websites. County clerks are custodian of documents for their counties. They are generally responsible for recording and providing official documents from deeds to vital records and more. Clerks are not aware of all the information contained in the all the documents they provide. This allows for some personal information that can be accessed by the public such as the social security number, date of birth and so forth. This also include court records such as bankruptcy case files. A removal of private information can be requested when personal data is being revealed. Various states and counties have their own procedures. While clerks have a duty to provide public information upon request, they can also provide them without the personal data appearing.
Change your address
When doing a search, your address can easily appear from many different online sources. People locators and address look ups are very popular online searches due to it's convenience and availability. The good news is that well maintained databases tend to periodically update their information. You can change your address to a P.O. Box (or similar mail service shops) and update the databanks showing your private residence. You can also manually submit the new address to update a particular database.
Opt out of people locators
Due to the popularity of people locator searches, many companies collect this data and include it in their databases. The data can include a person's full name, complete middle name, date of birth, dates of residence and more. Many of these services will have an opt out option available. Some entities will be easy to find the opt out forms and procedures and others will require more browsing through their website, in which helping to lower their bounce rates at the same time.
Background check company opt out
Opting out of background check companies is very similar to the aforementioned people locators approach. Once a list, of as many sources as possible is compiled, you can go through them and utilize their opt out process. This step may be necessary even if your information has been updated or removed from other databases, including services which provide the background check with data. This is due to past data that can still remain while the updated new information is only added and does not replace the old. Background check companies do not make great efforts to delete information, they are in the business of collecting and providing data.
Removal from marketing firms Marketing firms such as DMA (Direct Marketing Association), Acxiom , 555-1212 are the source for many companies providing personal information. Removing your information from top sources can be an effective method in staying out of many company provided data. This approach can be applied to pre-approved credit offers, insurance companies as well as other entities requiring and are willing to share individual personal information.
Seal records with court orders
An individual or company can obtain an order from the court in efforts to seal a particular record or case. The order will seal the record and keep it from the public’s view. This will not keep all information from the public, only what is mentioned within the order. There may still be other entities which obtained the record prior to the order and are providing it to the public. The court order does not automatically keep the information from all databases. This is generally done manually from one database to another.
Google Phonebook Name Removal
Google states that they no longer provides the public with phone numbers and addresses. However, people still use the largest search engine to look up people and businesses and they will generally get a list of services that will provide the information. You will be able to see which entities the largest search engine is listing for public use.
Search online databases for sensitive or personal information
It is clear that a proactive approach is the way to eliminate your name and information from online databases. These databases can be anywhere, even through government sources. Business filings, court records, various certificates, licensing and other departments that can contain information will usually have a process with guidelines for the public when requesting records. Some of the departments are implementing a two page or two tier step to show the information. This separates more extensive detailed information from just a list of names and file number or similar. Thereafter, the procedures in obtaining personal data can be more difficult with strict guidelines.
Public records can be found anywhere and shared among private and government entities endlessly. This means that efforts to eliminate your information may be never ending. Periodically checking to see what can be obtained about your personal information is a good idea.