There are several companies and websites that make use of your personal information but they are required to allow you to opt out. Here is a list of the places and relevant links for you to find where your information is collected and opt out so that it cannot be used by these companies.
The following links will let you opt out of the major marketing data brokers selling your information
Stop credit reporting agencies from sell your data (the source of junk mail offering “Pre-approved credit offers”) using Opt Out Prescreen
Banks also share data about their customers. Choose the bank from the list below to opt out of having your data shared
Do a Google search of “[insert credit card company name here] opt out of sharing my information”
You will likely be brought to a page that tells you that you need to actually call them and request to “opt out of sharing my information”. This is inconvenient but most companies make the process relatively convenient. As two examples, see the info below for Capital One and Discover
Capital One – 1-888-817-2970 – click here
Discover Card – 1-800-225-5202 – webpage is here
You can take your name out of Caller ID databases. You should have an account on your carrier’s website. When you log in you will see there is a name listed next to your phone number. If you have more than one phone on the same account there will be a different name listed next to each number. If you change this name it will eventually be reflected in caller ID databases. You can test by calling a phone that does not have your number in its contacts.
You can opt out of some of these offers if you:
- Visit DMAchoice.org to create an account with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and decide which mail you want to receive from DMA members. There’s a $2 processing fee, which will cover you for 10 years.
- Request to be taken off non-DMA mailing and marketing lists, such as those run by RetailMeNot and Valpak.
No Call Lists
You can register for the National Do Not Call Registry – donotcall.gov – which is limited in its effect but still useful
As a backup to the Do Not Call Registry, you can also go to No Mo Robo – nomorobo.com –
Do Not Contact for Caretaker’s Registration – https://ims-dm.com/cgi/dncc.php –
Remove your personal data (name, address, phone, birthday) from people-searching websites:
According to Inteltechniques.com: “The ‘MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK’ removals: Spokeo, Mylife, Radaris, Whitepages, Intelius, BeenVerified, Acxiom, Infotracer, Lexis Nexis, TruePeopleSearch”
Inteltechniques.com provides and exhaustive list of such websites and the urls for opting out of each of them – https://inteltechniques.com/workbook.html
You may choose to simply google your name and see which websites show up in your results with your personal information and focus on those.
Remove Google Street Views of Your Home
1 -Go to Google Streetview and look at your home. (note that the address has been blocked out with red for privacy)
2 – Click on the three dots (circled here in yellow) and then in the drop down choose “Report a Problem”
This brings you to a new page where you can adjust the photo to center the red and black square over your home
You choose from a list of options what you want to blur (in this case we chose “my home”)
And then you have to input a justification, such as “I am concerned for my privacy”
Don’t forgot two more issues, the first is that even after you have blurred the one image, you can move down the street one space and turn and see the same house, so you have to blur the house from a few different locations and angles
Second, don’t forget about Google Maps’ time machine feature.
See the little clock on the bottom left
When you click on it, you will see the same location from different times in the past. You will also have to blur them individually.
Removing images from Bing Maps
Bing Maps is similar, as seen below, you go to a location and click on the bottom left side “Report a privacy concern with this image”
You will be brought to this screen where you fill out some informaiton about yourself and the image you want blurred and you will see a panoramic view of the location where you will click on the part you want blurred and a red dot will appear.
Karta View – https://kartaview.org/ – is a lesser known service that uses crowd-sourced dash cam videos to provide street level imagery. As seen in the screenshot below, it similarly offers users the option to blur segments.
Another issue worth addressing if you own a home is the plethora of real estate photos showing your home from inside and out. A later post will address how to remove those photos as well. Generally, you will need to contact the real estate agent that sold the house and ask them to remove the photos from a database that is only accessible to real estate agents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is usually an easy process and most real estate agents are very cooperative on this front.
Social Media Profile
You may also choose to create a fake profile photo for your various accounts in social media and other mediums. to do so, try using ImageMagick
According to journaliststoolbox.org,
You can use Image Magic to “Create, edit, compose, or convert digital images. It can read and write images in a variety of formats (over 200) including PNG, JPEG, GIF, WebP, HEIC, SVG, PDF, DPX, EXR and TIFF. ImageMagick can resize, flip, mirror, rotate, distort, shear and transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, or draw text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bézier curves”
And that is it for now!