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The Internet Maze

The Internet is a world wide maze of interconnected computers with millions of public, private, education,
business and goverment networks filled with every kind of data; which likely includes your personal information.

How to Find Your Personal Information Online

At you'll find dozens of search engines covering every subject, from general searches to specific topics like social networking, books, published and out of print, patents and trademarks, and everything in between. If you find and uncover any personal information you have options: you can request removal, leave as is, or ask to update your listings to correct any inaccuracies.

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Is it Possible to Find and Remove All Your Personal Information? Maybe.

By Howard Berenbon

Once you've searched the Net using several of the listed engines, and likely found a dozen or more instances, you may have a lot of work ahead. If you feel strongly about your privacy, it makes good sense to proceed no matter what it takes, and it may take some time to pursue removal. First you'll make a list of the links that you've found, and then visit the sites one by one looking deep to identify your personal data. If you're listed in a telephone directory, many of the sites offer deletion. You should also know that your listing may be duplicated at mirrored sites so deleting from one site may not delete the mirrored listings. Also, many of these "people" databases required proof you're you before they process your removal request. Prepare to offer a copy of your driver's license or state ID to start. Some sites will also require a utility bill which lists your name and address as proof. You may also need to fax in a signed request. If you're listed on, say, 10 sites you'll need to duplicate your request for all other sites. So, prepare to spend some time.

If you find your copyrighted materials on a Website, published without your permission, that's a different situation than just your name, address, or age and occupation. It is a more a serious problem if someone has copied your work. The first step toward removal would be to make a copy of the page that lists your intellectual property, then shoot an e-mail to the site's owner or Webmaster requesting removal. That may be all you need to do. Most Webmasters don't want to use unauthorized works. Sometimes it happens without their knowledge when materials are uploaded by employees not aware of the copyright laws. In this case they were searching the Internet for resources that may compliment their site, and snatched it for their own. They may not even consider using another person's work a crime, but off course it is a crime, and considered copyright infringement.

In the past, I have found my copyrighted text and photos online at a competitor's site. Obviously they had no right or permission to use my works, but there it was for me to find. But, all I needed to do was e-mail the Website administrator and my materials were quickly removed along with an apology. However, if you never search for your works you'll never know if someone is using it. So, you need to do your searches at least once or twice a year, or more. If you run an Internet business with lots of resource materials, it would be good practice to check your competitors sites to make sure they haven't copied any of your text or copyrighted articles. At least two times in the last few years I have found parts of my Website text copied word for word on a competitor's site. One time the Website owner refused to remove my materials so I filed a complaint with their hosting company sending proof of infringement (you can find out who hosts a Website by doing a Whois search). And it worked. Within a day my materials disappeared, and I received an apology e-mail from the Webmaster. The second incident involved software I was selling that which ended up on eBay without my knowledge. After I filed an infringement form with eBay including proof I was the copyright owner, the listings with my software were removed, and the person lost their eBay account.

Links to information and articles on how to delete your personal information from the Internet

At you'll find some expert advice on how to remove your personal information online

If you care about your personal data online and want to remove some or all of it then visit for advice.

A directory of links to delete your account from Web services

How to background check yourself online. just delete me delete yourself from the Internet

Google Copyright Infringement Reporting

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