As parents and as social media enthusiasts we have different needs for privacy. As a social media enthusiast you do want your name out there, and maybe even your business address, but certainly not your home address. Right? Jason Calcanis doesn’t trust Facebook, and Jason is kind of a big deal.
Not everything can be controlled, but as Peter Shankman so aptly points out, we are the ones adding the content, so we do have the ability to control some of it. This is a good thing. Here are five easy ways you can begin to safeguard your privacy online.
1. Do not enter your private information online. Really, not for anything, not for Classmates.com, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, resume building sites… everywhere. Either make up an address, don’t enter one, or use a business address. No one really needs your address, they aren’t sending you gifts in the mail.
2. Remove your information from WhitePages.com. Unfortunately WhitePages.com doesn’t follow best practices, it is opt out, as opposed to opt in. You’ll need to search for your name, and then click on each search result to remove yourself from their directory. The very bad news is that both my children were listed at WhitePages.com with our correct address and phone number, the good news is that removal was almost instantaneous. Here’s an example with my friend Lolita’s data. Click here to watch the how to video.
3. Remove your information from Intellius.com. According to Intellius this is how:
In order for us to suppress or opt out your personal information from appearing on our Website, we need to verify your identity. To do this, we require faxed proof of identity. Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver’s license. If you are faxing a copy of your driver’s license, cross out the photo and the driver’s license number. We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. We will only use this information to process your opt out request. Please fax to 425-974-6194 and allow 4 to 6 weeks to process your request. We will only process opt out requests received by fax and no request will be processed without complete information (i.e., name, address and date of birth). Requests for opt out will not be processed over the phone or via email.
4. Use Private registration for your websites. Anyone can go to WhoIs and search for the registered domain owner of any site. When you buy a domain name, you must enter a name, address and phone number, for an extra couple of dollars each year you can hide this information. If you don’t want to make the registration information private, then I suggest a PO Box and a cell phone number.
For the most part we have overshared our own data. Taking it back bit by bit is difficult, but worth doing.