Clearing data brokers

Kelly edited this page Sep 2, 2018 · 18 revisions

Testing the waters

To get a sense of what is out there, look yourself up in some free data brokers that are fairly easy to use. Try looking yourself up in People Finders. This is one of the few data brokers with a relatively painless search and opt-out process. If you find yourself, definitely opt out.

Most data brokers are not this easy. Try looking up your name and phone number in whitepages, and try looking up your email and any usernames you use frequently in pipl. Whitepages will let you opt out, but they won't make it easy for you. Pipl doesn't offer opting out, and instead says that since they are merely aggregating public information that you must remove it from the source.

Tackling data brokers

Once you start looking yourself up in data brokers, most people find a lot of reasons to be paranoid. Try to keep a level head; remember that you've lived probably most of your life thus far with surveillance and advertising data hoarding. If you're worried about the government, sorry this will not help you that much, they probably have all of this and more on you already. But if you're worried about random assholes on the internet, there are some concrete things you can do to protect yourself. Here are the strategies for preventing doxxing and reducing the risk posed by data brokers:

1. Opt out

Unfortunately not all data brokers provide an opt-out, and some of the ones that do require so much identity verification from you that it feels like an invasion of privacy just to opt out. Go with what you're comfortable with and the capacity you have. Opting out of every broker that offers it won't guarantee you safety, this is just a risk reduction approach.

2. Spread disinformation

The harder it is to find accurate info for someone who is definitely you, the lower your risk of doxxing. Keep in mind that random assholes on the internet are usually down to fuck with lots of people, not just you. So if you are a hassle, sometimes they will just move on. Check out our guide on obfuscating your identity to learn more.

3. Pay someone else to clean up after you

These services will basically do #1 for you, and generally they do a better job that you would. If you have the money, go for it. And pay for a friend who doesn't.

Data brokers with an opt-out

There are hundreds of data brokers out there, but here are some of the more popular ones that actually have an opt-out process.

Data broker Opt-out method Opt-out link
Spokeo Online only https://www.spokeo.com/optout
SpyDialer Online http://www.spydialer.com/optout.aspx
Whitepages Online + phone http://www.whitepages.com/suppression_requests How to: https://brandyourself.com/blog/guide/opt-out-and-remove-listings-from-whitepages/
BeenVerified Online + email https://www.beenverified.com/f/optout/search
Instant Checkmate Online https://www.instantcheckmate.com/opt-out/
PeopleSmart Online https://www.peoplesmart.com/optout-go
USA People Search Online https://www.usa-people-search.com/manage/default.aspx
PeopleFinders Online https://www.peoplefinders.com/manage/
PeekYou Online http://www.peekyou.com/about/contact/optout/index.php
FamilyTreeNow Online https://www.familytreenow.com/optout

Guides

These are all additional resources, with a little context. We are in the process of digesting these guides and incorporating them into this wiki. Feel free to peruse them yourself though!

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