I saw this post on reddit not too long ago and I’ve been meaning to share it here. Anyone who has read any of my stuff here knows that online privacy is a big interest of mine. A user on reddit, Paranoidsbible, has compiled a pretty comprehensive list of many people search engines and ways to remove yourself from their listings. ‘People search engines’ are sites like white pages, pipl, etc. which index peoples names, ages, addresses, and social media accounts. See the full list and explanations on reddit.
A while back I wrote a post for an old blog where I showed just how much information could be gathered about someone starting with nothing at all. To sum it up briefly, I decided I liked Scotties tissue box art so I typed in “scotties.com” and found it wasn’t owned by the company. Because I was curious, I used a WhoIS lookup to get the name of the person who owned the domain name. I was able to google that name and get the home address, age of the person, family members, Myspace & Facebook pages, car fan club memberships, posts on a forum over a 5 year span, and much more. A lot of this information was gained from these “people search engines”.
While this isn’t the original post, I cover some of this in a post here.
Some users on reddit have brought up the fact that it seems like you’re just providing more personal info to remove your info from these sites. That is true and I believe a legitimate concern. What reason do you have to trust them? However, that is not required for every website. It may be worth it to go through this and do it for at least a few sites. It’s not always about removing all your information, just making it more difficult to find.