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Is It Possible To Erase Yourself From the Internet?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the back-in-the-shadows dept.

Privacy 295

Barence writes "Do you remember what you posted on that music forum in 2004? Or which services you tried for webmail before Gmail? We often forget online services, but they don't forget us. PC Pro has investigated whether it's possible to retrospectively wipe yourself from the internet. It discusses how difficult it is to get your data removed from Facebook, Google and other popular web services, as well as reputation management services that promise to bury unwanted internet content on your behalf."

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What about slashdot? (5, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865163)

How do I get rid of all those incriminating posts from all that time I wasted on /. while I was at work?

It's the New You (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865459)

How do I get rid of all those incriminating posts from all that time I wasted on /. while I was at work?

Log out and sign up with a different nick.

Re:It's the New You (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865517)

Get back to work Chris, I know it's you.

Re:What about slashdot? (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866095)

su -c "rpm -e myself"
su -c "yum remove myself"
sudo apt-get purge myself
sudo apt-get remove myself
sudo find / -iname "*myself*" -exec rm -rf {} \;
'; delete from users where id='myself'; delete from posts where user_id='myself'; --

Re:What about slashdot? (-1, Flamebait)

juopguta (2838635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866101)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] like Manuel explained I can't believe that some people able to make $9972 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you see this page

No. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865185)

No.

Its all about the noise (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865575)

As a fellow AC you should know better. The question is wrong. Keep the signal to noise ratio high and you will never have a need to regret your internet diving past.

Re:Its all about the noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865865)

Actually is the opposite, keep the signal to noise ratio low (much more noise than signal). Unsurprisingly Apple has a patent to this technique http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8,205,265.PN.&OS=PN/8,205,265&RS=PN/8,205,265

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865721)

Jack Bauer can.

Re:No. (1, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865757)

No.

Ian, is that you? [wikipedia.org]

This problem is easily solved (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865191)

by using a handle (pseudonym) and never your real name.

Take that, Zuckerberg and Schmidt

Re:This problem is easily solved (5, Informative)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865279)

It takes more than that. You also have to compartmentalize your real and assumed identities so your friends and acquaintances who do not value your privacy do not link them for you.

I find facebook's "is this really X's real name" queries to your social contacts especially dangerous.

Re:This problem is easily solved (2)

mrbluze (1034940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865357)

It takes more than that. You also have to compartmentalize your real and assumed identities so your friends and acquaintances who do not value your privacy do not link them for you. I find facebook's "is this really X's real name" queries to your social contacts especially dangerous.

Facebook is an intel organization's dream.

FTFY (5, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865579)

Facebook is an intel organization

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865743)

Facebook is an intel organization for people without intelligence about their privacy.

Re:FTFY (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866199)

... for our corporate overlords, and may also be useful to the elected government, as they serve those overlords.

Re:This problem is easily solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865825)

I thought intel made semiconductors?

Re:This problem is easily solved (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865735)

I find facebook's "is this really X's real name" queries to your social contacts especially dangerous.

Maybe that's because you are stupid enough to USE Facebook.

I've said it before and I will say it again :

I have never met a single person I consider truly intelligent who uses Facebook.
You see, my definition of intelligence includes not doing stupid things which are
easily avoided.

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866169)

Facebook has a fucktonne of information about me ... none of which matters. Oh god, someone might show me a relevant ad! Or find out that I said silly things to my friends on the internet! Nobody gives a shit.

Re:This problem is easily solved (4, Insightful)

honestmonkey (819408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866265)

Yeah, maybe so, maybe no. Did you every "Like" something? How about a song somebody sent you the link to? How about a Youtube video of a song, say from "Glee"? And also, do you live in one of the states where it is LEGAL to fire your ass or kick you out of an apartment if you are gay or suspected of being gay? Fucked now, hey. Just because you said silly things to your friends.

Anything and everything can come back to haunt you. And occasionally someone does give a shit.

Re:This problem is easily solved (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865389)

And never buy a house or sign up for anything offline or do anything that ever goes into any form of public record. Basically, you need to go live in a cabin in the woods.

Re:This problem is easily solved (2)

MouseR (3264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865601)

Where your life will be filmed by the myriad of critter cams out there.

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866223)

Not true. The only contact I have with The Database is the house that I own, and it really doesn't do too much. Very occasionally, I'll get a piece of snail mail because of my house ownership, but that's really it. If you do no credit cards, no banks (credit unions), no online services, etc. then just owning a house doesn't really put you in The Database as much as one would think, considering it's public record.

Re:This problem is easily solved (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865441)

by using a handle (pseudonym) and never your real name.

It's a lot easier to connect the dots than you might think...

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865607)

Indeed. Maybe it's as simple as relating a particular username here that you used when you signed up with Verizon/Comcast/whoever. I know I certainly don't bother coming up with different usernames for different places. I only do so if my goto name is already taken.

Re:This problem is easily solved (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865751)

by using a handle (pseudonym) and never your real name.

It's a lot easier to connect the dots than you might think...

Yep. Sometimes it's something as simple as an IP address, cookie, or Flash cookie that will do it. Or something more subtle, like unique web browser signatures (eg. the collection of fonts installed on your system is reported by some browsers and and can serve as a unique fingerprint.). And keep in mind, as far as I know there are no privacy laws that prevent an ISP from reporting the real name of a subscriber given their IP address, and many give that information out to police without warrants.

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865475)

by using a handle (pseudonym) and never your real name. And never doing any of the following: applying or using credit or debit cards, taking a job (under the counter OK), buying or renting a car, owing or renting an apartment, applying for unemployment insurance or other government benefits, or showing one's face in a public or private (for StreetView) place.

ftfy

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865533)

TFS said retrospectively (while meaning retroactively).

Re:This problem is easily solved (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865569)

I do that with a "blog/social media name" that I use. (My Slashdot account pre-dates this pseudonym.) The problem is that as I get in touch with more and more people online under my pseudonym (especially as I go to conferences and the like), more and more people know my real name. Which means that any one of them can reveal it online (whether out of malice or just not thinking). My pseudonym will be publicly linked with my real name someday. It's inevitable. My only home is to delay that for as long as possible.

Step 1 - NEVER close an old email account (5, Insightful)

gubon13 (2695335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865205)

I can't speak to getting rid of specific old traces of yourself, but you're definitely SOOL if you close the email account on which old forum/website accounts were based. Even removing data from spokeo.com and similar sites is based on access to email addresses that, again, were associated with old accounts.

Re:Step 1 - NEVER close an old email account (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865317)

so to that I would say, never use a free isp email account as thats the number one reason people seem to close email accounts when they are changing provider.

Re:Step 1 - NEVER close an old email account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865325)

Weird you should say that. I use 10 minute mail to create forum accounts and write down the login and password. No problems so far.

Re:Step 1 - NEVER close an old email account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866147)

So... you keep all your L/P data... even the ones from 15 years ago?

Keep out of my archives (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865231)

I'm not happy when people dig into forums and start scrubbing bits out of them; it means that if I want to keep an accurate history of things I can look at, I need to save a copy, and if I'm having an internet argument with someone I need to stash a copy of everything they say on my website (or at least ready to go up there) to preserve coherency.

For people who I think might try to disappear, or for people who frequently delete or censor their blogposts/discussion posts, I already do this, but it's a pain in the butt. I don't want it to be more common.

It's healthier for society to accept that people change than to let everyone reenact 1984 every time they get nervous.

Re:Keep out of my archives (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865403)

It's healthier for society to accept that people change than to let everyone reenact 1984 every time they get nervous.

I take this statement to mean you've never actually read that particular tome.

You should.

Re:Keep out of my archives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865487)

Speak for yourself.

Re:Keep out of my archives (1)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865525)

I have. Perhaps you're familiar with the editing of history that was a theme in the work?

Re:Keep out of my archives (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865589)

Ron [slashdot.org] ? is that you?

Re:Keep out of my archives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865603)

If you want to be sure of keeping a record put it on a system you fully trust and control, period. This isn't just about people having privacy - this is also about sites that just go offline (remember Geocities?).

Everyone being able to control their own content matters more than your "archives", and will also lead to people contributing more and higher quality content in the first place. Sorry if this is less convenient for your particular use case, but it's just the right way to do it for both technical and ethical reasons. Get familiar with mass-downloading/crawling software, write a few scripts, and you'll be fine.

Re:Keep out of my archives (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865831)

It's healthier for society to accept that people change than to let everyone reenact 1984 every time they get nervous.

I can control what I do. I can't control whether or not 'society will accept that I've changed'.

As long as that remains true (and I don't see it changing anytime) only a fool will 'rely on society to accept...' anything, if they have any choice in the matter.

Re:Keep out of my archives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866177)

...and if I'm having an internet argument with someone I need to stash a copy of everything they say on my website

The above sentence is one of the most profoundly pathetic things I have ever read on the internet
or anywhere else.

You must have a lonely, sad, and very tiny little life.

Yes you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865245)

My friend #### ######## already did it.

#### is a genius who has written a worm that crawls through the internet and replaces any occurrence of his name with hash marks.

--AC

Re:Yes you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865297)

Your search - #### ######## - did not match any documents.

Wow! What's his name?

Re:Yes you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865327)

and I have your password: *******

Re:Yes you can (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866211)

Wow that shows as hunter2 to me

Re:Yes you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865599)

His name is Hash isn't it?

Re:Yes you can (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865869)

His name is Hash isn't it?

Of course! My good friend Hash Tag! We went to university together--great guy... Can really wail on the guitar.

Whats the internet? (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865269)

Whats the internet? They just listed some specific services. I'm on usenet going back to 1989, I believe. Certainly 1991 at worst. Anyone younger than 35 or so pretty much just said "usenet? whats that?"

Amusingly they didn't list what it takes to remove yourself from compuserve (I was on from 1981 till... donno) and prodigy and myspace and ...

30 years from now you'll mention you were on linkedin and the 22 year old girls in HR who filter the resumes will say, "huh? Whats a linkedin?" Ditto facebook, G+, etc.

Re:Whats the internet? (2)

Cassini2 (956052) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865555)

Fortunately, the search engines appear to have forgotten about USENET. I'm in the same boat, and I used my real name too.

My current strategy is to avoid saying anything on-line that could blow back to me, and I always use a pseudonym. However, with a vast history, I wonder how anonymous I really am.

Re:Whats the internet? (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865817)

I too was on usenet & CIS in the mid 80's, yet I have neither a facebook nor a twitter account.

30 years from now you'll mention

I suspect 3 years is the more accurate prediction.....

Re:Whats the internet? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865883)

Back then everything was done with pseudonyms so you can just switch to a new one and ditch your old identity any time you like. All you every posted was text or low res images. Nowadays every site wants your real name, and everyone uploads high quality photos with geotagging.

PS. I'm 32 and have been using Usenet for at least 15 years.

Don't do it! (5, Insightful)

The Good Reverend (84440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865273)

I've never understood the fascination so many tech luddites and techies-who-think-they're-cool-by-hating-being-on-the-internet to try to erase their online presence. It'll only come back to bite you.

You don't have to share everything, but establishing your presence and "owning your name" gives you some measure of control in regards to what people find if they search for you. If you go the "you can't see me" route, anyone with a vendetta or anything (good or bad) that gets you in the news is suddenly all anyone searching sees. You can't control everything by being online, but you certainly have more control than if you try to hide.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865703)

Why stop with just your real name? Barney Stinson doesn't. [urbandictionary.com]

Re:Don't do it! (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865829)

You don't have to share everything, but establishing your presence and "owning your name" gives you some measure of control in regards to what people find if they search for you.

I'm less worried about my reputation and more worried about people looking for ways to leverage inadvertantly disclosed information about me to their own advantage. If your are lucky the best you can expect is to control some of what google shows on the first page of search results under your name. That's only good for the most casual of searchers - anyone actively looking for dirt on you will go far past that first page of hits.

With respect to reputation if you do suddenly get famous enough to be "in the news" google is going to put that stuff right up there at as the first hits anyway because any news site is going to have a much higher page rank than your piddly facebook page -- seen that happen to a couple of friends already.

Re:Don't do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866039)

If you go the "you can't see me" route, anyone with a vendetta or anything (good or bad) that gets you in the news is suddenly all anyone searching sees. You can't control everything by being online, but you certainly have more control than if you try to hide.

I hate to break this to you, but you're wrong, the news media usually comes out ON TOP of *anything* about your name that was there before the bad news came out.

You're better off the radar than on it, the only problem is those employers who rudely expect you to HAVE a FARCEbook.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866197)

> You don't have to share everything, but establishing your presence and "owning your name" gives you some measure of control in regards to what people find if they search for you.

Totally disagree... not "owning your name" is best. I have a fairly uncommon name, but I am *so grateful* that there are now 5 or 6 others of me out there in the google results. Now when people search, they dont know which one of those people they are finding... whereas before, I (and my usenet history going back 15 years) was the only one that would pop up. The noise level is now rising making it harder to find the signal.

Yes (1)

futhermocker (2667575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865277)

But you'll need loads of cash, connections in South America and a replacement face.

On a serious note, no. I have always been careful (since CompuServe) but there are some traces, if you dig usenet. Most sites from back then are gone. Lucky I have a generic name, first hit is a guy somewhere far away, so I am happy...

change your name (5, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865283)

You can erase your history completely if you change your name. Your new name (if well chosen) will have no Internet history associated with it.

Re:change your name (4, Interesting)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865553)

Or pick one so popular that it's impossible to pick you out of all of the other John Smiths on the net.

Re:change your name (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865931)

Or pick one so popular that it's impossible to pick you out of all of the other John Smiths on the net.

Exactly. It is far easier to hide in a crowd of a million than yourself in an empty field.

Anyone considering getting a fake id in real life should pick from the most common first and family names (there are name frequency lists you can google for) - John Smith really is super common but it is almost a cliche. If you go with something like Tom Johnson you will still be in the company of hundreds of thousands of other Tom Johnsons and not seem quite so fake.

Re:change your name (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865961)

Most service that claim to need your real name actually just need a real sounding name. There is no need to use your actual name in the first place.

Re:change your name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865573)

IMHO, this is the best argument for not using your real/legal name onilne. EVAR!

Maybe you meant change your real name? Changing your legal name creates a paper-trail that links the old and new names.
Or maybe you meant "buy a new identity on the black market?" Surely you're not suggesting that one should have to become a criminal to escape the stupid stuff s/he wrote on Internet years ago.

You used to be able to (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865287)

Many years ago you could e-mail an address at google, yahoo, as well as others and they would remove your personal data from the listings. I used to do it every year. Do a search on my self and remove all reference to me. It worked great but they all stopped it and no longer honor requests for removal.

They really should bring it back, Not saying there needs to be a law but a movement to be an upstanding member of the online community and let you request removal of your information.

Re:You used to be able to (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865381)

Why the hell would they do that? They are making money off that information. You are a product, not a customer, and products don't get to dictate who they get sold to or how they are used.

Re:You used to be able to (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865535)

How come OJ Simpson never did that?

Erase? No. Obfuscate and Edit? Yes. (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865313)

Even your kids school records were visible on the internet back a few years ago, as well as all property and marriage/divorce transactions.

But you can obfuscate things and edit some of them.

You'll still be there, and any decent investigator could find it, but not the average person doing a google search.

Besides, they're all on the Wayback Machine.

Is It Possible...? (1, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865333)

Of course it is, do you have a very large asteroid handy?

magic (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865339)

I'm not on the internet in the first place. Any site that asks for a real name didn't get one. I never touched myspace or facebook, etc. Even my Gmail name is fake. So I'm all set.

Re:magic (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866031)

I'm not on the internet in the first place. Any site that asks for a real name didn't get one. I never touched myspace or facebook, etc. Even my Gmail name is fake. So I'm all set.

Doesn't gmail log every IP you logged in from?

It's complicated (4, Funny)

caywen (942955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865353)

I have a solution, but it involves simultaneous use of biological viruses and nukes. At a minimum, my solution will at least erase anyone's desire to care.

My net history is all a clever ruse: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865417)

I make people think I'm another harmless fool on the internet.

By pretty much being another harmless fool on the internet.

Remember. Sincerity is the key to everything.

Once you can fake that, the rest is easy.

Re:My net history is all a clever ruse: (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866011)

So your master plan is to fool people into believing you are what you actually are?

Bank Account? (1)

fldsofglry (2754803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865419)

Assuming you have a bank account and a credit report, you can't. The info is stored somewhere, which undoubtedly is a computer connected to the internet.

Make it a publicity right (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865433)

While, in the US (or even the EU), we're not likely to see a "right to be forgotten", we might have a "right not to have one's identity exploited for advertising purposes". You should be able to quit an ad-supported service and insist that none of your data every appear on a page with an ad. If it does, the advertiser has to pay you a publicity fee. California has a law like that for photos - if you use someone's photo in an ad without their permission, you owe them at least $500 - much more if they're famous.

The best kind of privacy (3, Interesting)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865443)

If 100% of everything anyone ever did and said were preserved for all of history, it would be the best thing that could happen for privacy.

Sure everyone could find any information they wanted, but that information would be less exploitable.

For example, a company you applied for a job to finds a picture of you getting wasted on New Years. Should they not hire you because you are a drunk? Well it turns out that they can also find drunk pictures of just about every applicant so you are no different.

Every single "bad" thing about you will either turn out to be something that is not really that bad in light of the fact that almost everyone does it, or actually bad (in which case you might need to go to jail).

Another example: Your girlfriend finds out you cheated on her using google. You are an asshole. It also turns out that 70% of the people she knows have cheated. It also turns out she cheated on you too. This sucks. Well yes, but was it worse than when we all successfully hid our cheating? At least now cheating doesn't seem as bad. In fact it may not even be considered cheating anymore since everyone knows about it immediately after it happens.

The real reason for wanting privacy is to not be able to be singled out. If everyone is able to be singled out, then nobody is able to be singled out. When a regular polygon gets infinite sides, it becomes a circle with 0 sides.

Re:The best kind of privacy (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865571)

The real reason for wanting privacy is to not be able to be singled out.

Why do bathrooms have stalls then? We all go, and we all know that we all go.

Privacy has value beyond not being singled out.

I would hate to live in the world you described.

I am spartacus (1)

tacokill (531275) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865617)

I have nothing else to say but that seemed relevant

Re:The best kind of privacy (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865727)

Or go with Plan B: Don't cheat.

Re:The best kind of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865875)

There is absolutely no way people would stop taking being wronged personally simply because "everyone does it" - furthermore, this would lead to rather twisted and unnatural incentives where people are pressured to never party or experiment as a way of making themselves more appealing candidates. Everyone being exposed and everyone behaving naturally is not equilibrium, at least some people would start living more straight-laced and the effect would snowball until we're in a self-imposed puritanical society.

Re:The best kind of privacy (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866001)

The real reason for wanting privacy is to not be able to be singled out.

You can't control who will single you out, or for what. If I am someone who judges people harshly based on X, then I only care whether you do/have done X, or not. I don't care how many other people have done X, because I am looking at *you* and judging you based on X.

So the fact that 75% of people have done X is irrelevant, and the fact that you have done 93 other things that are mildly embarrassing is irrelevant. If X, then I treat you badly.

That is how discrimination works.

Re:The best kind of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866103)

You scary world was making sense to the word "girlfriend" ... what is that?

Feed the Monster Garbage (4, Interesting)

MonkeyBot (545313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865449)

I was thinking about this earlier today while reading the article on Raytheon's Riot Program. I don't know if you can effectively remove yourself from the internet, but you might be able to muddy up your profiles with garbage to the point that the information that can be gleaned about you from the internet is of little or no value to a mass data harvester like Riot. I think this is the way to go in the future. You can't erase the data someone has already compiled about you, but you can feed the beast garbage until it vomits.

Re:Feed the Monster Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865673)

Better than muddying the water, what if you post awesome things about yourself. "${insertName} is the best coder that I have ever had the infinite pleasure to work with. His code is a thing of beauty and makes lesser programmers weep with joy."

Re:Feed the Monster Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865979)

I think this is the way to go in the future. You can't erase the data someone has already compiled about you, but you can feed the beast garbage until it vomits.

This is the correct strategy, and it applies to many privacy problems.

Don't just try to not let the ad-targeting/data aggregation guys not know about you with script blockers. We need to actively add incorrect information to their databases to lower their accuracy and thus value. This is how you fight data retailers with economics, and it helps protect others, not just yourself. We the tech-literate can protect everyone's privacy, and I believe it is our obligation to try.

You need to take off and nuke it from orbit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42865541)

that's the only way to be sure.

I kind of did that with usenet (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865627)

Mid-80s UNIX discussion groups. Used the the telephone version of the internet at the beginning. I used my real name them because thats all schools would allow on your account. Plus local servers erased stuff 30 days old due to disk space then. I never foresaw ten years later google would buy up all the archives and put it searchable online. But now google has "aged out" lots of its older stuff. Or it drops 50 pages deep unless you home in on it exactly.

In a word... (2)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865657)

no

No - Free Speech (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865763)

No you can't erase yourself from the internet. Free Speech means people can talk about you. They can talk about where you live, what you did, and all the things they hate about you. You may be able to erase a few things you posted here or there, but you can't erase history without trampling on peoples civil rights.

Re:No - Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866111)

You may be able to erase a few things you posted here or there, but you can't erase history without trampling on peoples civil rights.

Wrong, Expect to have the IP brigade against you with an attitude like that! - Yeah they posted the info, it still belongs to the poster according to copyright laws so it IS enforceable in a court of law, as tested by the RIAA several hundred times.

Geocities (1)

Jhon (241832) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865773)

Oh how I wish the wayback machine could remove all the old geocities data...

Re:Geocities (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865909)

Oh how I wish the wayback machine could remove all the old geocities data...

Because it's a waste of disk storage?

Well... (1)

pi8you (710993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865787)

Seeing as Bill Gates ended his Reddit AMA with this this image today, I'm gonna say no. - http://i.imgur.com/D3qRaty.jpg [imgur.com]

it's just too risky (1)

catmistake (814204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865881)

I'm not taking any chances. I'm repartitioning and reformatting the Internet, wiping 37 times with random 1's and 0's

I remember (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865897)

Do you remember what you posted on that music forum in 2004?

I have never posted to a music forum. But if I did post something offensive or objectionable so what? Anyone that judges too harshly on such minor matters is best avoided anyway.

Or which services you tried for webmail before Gmail?

I used my own webmail before and after gmail. I once setup a gmail account solely to send my mail server test emails.

It discusses how difficult it is to get your data removed from Facebook

I've never had a facebook account. If I wanted the US government to build semantic graphs about my interpersonal relationships then I'd get a facebook account, but until that time I don't see the need for facebook in my life.

Answer: (1)

DigMarx (1487459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865915)

No, and it shouldn't be possible. Using an alias online is just smart practice, but something's got to be done about the rampaging herds of Internet Fuckwads (greater or lesser). How appropriate would it be for past online shithattery to come back and bite the shithatterists. "I see here you've got an MBA, Mr. Douchesuit, but can you explain why you had an AOL account for 8 years, and what led you to choose the handle T!ts0rG+FO?"

"You can't delete something from the Internet." (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42865925)

"It's like peeing in a pool. Once it's in there, it's _in_ there." - some old 90s sitcom

Yes, you can! (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866175)

rm -fR -u $USER /dev/eth0 should work.

Sneaky fuckers... (2, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866191)

Sneaky fuckers...

What do you think is the best method to get people to update old data? Require them to prove themselves in order to delete it, then simply ignore their request to delete it.

The moment you touch that old data, you've updated it with your current IP address. Once they have that, they can then connect the dots between new and old data, thus providing them with a much greater amount of information.

Yes, sort of (1)

rbprbp (2731083) | about a year and a half ago | (#42866239)

Some erasing will eventually happen. Smaller forums, newsgroups etc... will eventually die (domain expires, owner loses interest, they become spamfests and then are punished by Google's algorithms etc...).

The only website... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42866269)

The only website i could find on google containing my real name encountered an unrecoverable database deletion for no apparent reason a few months ago. I'm now officially a ghost.

For established webservices i tend to recover the associated email then said webservice account then scrub and delete everything.

Successful identity erasing can be achieved with the proper means and skills.

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