Are you alarmed by the rising number of privacy breaches? Well, you are certainly not alone. For many people, online privacy has become a growing concern.
Here’s How to Remove Public Records From the Internet
Personal data in online circulation is no longer just limited to what you have voluntarily shared. There are many other types of personal information out there that you likely haven’t even thought of.
Your public records are one such data category that could compromise privacy and sometimes even your safety. But what exactly are public records, and what troubles could they lead to?
In this article, we’ll answer all these questions and share our best tips for removing public records from the internet.
Public Records Explained
Ballotpedia defines public records as “information that has been filed or recorded by public agencies [and] created by the federal and local government.”
These records can relate to government activities or individuals. But it is the latter that’s usually a source of concern for ordinary citizens, especially when they are available online and shared by countless people.
Public records belonging to individuals are varied and can include birth certificates, death certificates, deeds, arrest records, and more.
The Freedom of Information Act governs how these are made publicly available, while each state may also have its own guidelines and requirements.
The Unforeseen Consequences
Keeping these records public is not without benefits. For example, when you’re hiring a new babysitter, you’d want to check the candidate’s background and past misdemeanors.
Having access to arrest records or court cases could be a lifesaver for any parent in such moments. So, making these records publicly accessible can help maintain transparency and even public safety.
Now, if the law says anyone can access this information, what could possibly go wrong? After all, legislation is there to safeguard citizens, right? The biggest issues arise when these records migrate online.
Of course, this digital transition allows government agencies to manage their databases more efficiently. It also enables the public to access them with greater ease. But this is exactly where things have gone sour.
The fact is, today, it’s hard to put a value on personal data. It’s simply priceless. This is why companies like data aggregators constantly sift through freely accessible information on various platforms like social media.
And for these businesses, public records held by government agencies are an essential source of personal data. They are often free, easy to access, and can divulge a ton of identifiable personal details.
And what can they do with all this information? They compile profiles and monetize them in numerous ways. For example, they can use your profile to provide background search services or even sell it to other businesses for marketing purposes.
And data aggregators aren’t the only ones interested in your public records. There could be hackers, cybercriminals, and various other malicious individuals that could prey on personal data.
So, when in the wrong hands, public records could severely erode your safety and privacy.
Steps to Remove Public Records
Removing public records from government archives could be tricky and often near-impossible. Even if it’s allowed, meeting relevant criteria could be tough, and the entire process could be cumbersome and hugely time-consuming.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try pursuing this path: getting your records removed from public access at the government source is the most effective way to end unwelcome intrusions and data sharing.
So, speak to your state’s government agencies to determine what options are available to maintain privacy based on state and federal regulations.
But what other measures can you take in the event public offices refuse your request? Here’s what we suggest.
Tackle Data Aggregators Head-On
Getting your public records off data aggregator databases could significantly help minimize much of the risks. For example, it could prevent people from freely accessing your data using background search sites.
It could also reduce sharing of these records among businesses. After all, data aggregators are a major source of identifiable information for commercial entities.
The good news is that many data aggregators allow people to opt out of their databases. But remember, most records contained by these companies will not turn up on a Google search.
So, you’ll need to make a list of data aggregators, go into each site, and check for profiles built under your name. Then find out their opt-out options. Some may provide an online form, while others might request an email or a phone call.
So, based on the opt-out guidelines, submit your request and follow up to ensure they remove your records.
Get Help From a Privacy Expert
Currently, several companies specialize in public data removal. But keep in mind their services will not come free.
These businesses will often charge an annual fee since getting your records off the internet is not something that could happen overnight. It takes deliberate effort when it comes to monitoring and following up until the job gets done.
Of course, a plus point is that they will also track any new entries added online during the year and swiftly take action to get them removed.
So, how can you select the right data removal service for your needs? The service charge would be an essential criterion but should not be the only one.
Check how many sites they will target. It’s also crucial they focus on large-scale data aggregators and data brokers instead of just the smaller ones.
Another point to consider is the additional services they provide to maintain transparency and better privacy. These can include services like monthly updates and continuous monitoring.
Apart from these measures, taking steps to minimize data sharing is crucial to avoid the unintended disclosure of public record details. Be extra mindful of what personal information you share and whom you share them with, both online and offline.
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