A Twitter user going by the name Liam has made a thread on how an average person can remove 99.9% of his or her digital footprint from the Internet, which has called the attention over whether or not it is possible, especially on how integrated the day-to-day life is with the Internet.
As online privacy has faced rapidly growing attention since 2018 from both the public consumer at large and the legislative body, Liam has taken the opportunity to relieve people of the fears associated with criticisms regarding how the Internet is exploiting their personal information for profit gains or pushing forward personal agendas.
At the time of writing, the thread has reached over 110,000 retweets and almost 440,000 favorites.
The thread is relatively possible to accomplish by the average Internet user or computer experts, Liam says.
To begin deleting yourself from the Internet, Liam advises that you will need to: “Go through each email you can think of that you’ve used in the past 10 years” and that “you’ll want to recover them if you’ve lost access, so that you can access other websites you may have signed up to [use] them.”
That first step includes being able to identify and remember all the email addresses you have input your personal information since the very beginning, even those you made when the Internet was first starting out.
If you’re successful with that step, you will be able to have access to all the other websites, social media platforms, and subscriptions you have signed up for, ever. To quickly access those, Liam says that you “use the search function on your e-mail and look for phrases such as ‘Sign up’ or ‘Welcome.'”
Once there, you will want to proceed by deleting that account. “For some services, you may want to purge all content and messages before you delete the account, as the account may be archived and a hacker or external entity may access this information at a later date,” he continues. “That’s something to bear in mind.”
To double-check if you’re successful with your quest, Liam says to check if your information has already been compromised by using the usernames and services you have scraped from your current and old email accounts. Here’s where it gets complicated.
He suggests using the public site haveibeenpwned.com to check if you have, in fact, been pwned. If so, you can change your account information as a workaround. The site won’t list all compromised accounts (just those in databases of private information that have already been leaked, not databases that are being sold off in private).
After clearing that step, you will now move on to a larger platform, which is deleting yourself entirely from Google.
Following that step, Liam advises that you now proceed with the last of the digital footprint you have left, which is your email addresses.
By the end of the thread, the self-proclaimed code monkey gives out advice regarding how you can maintain your privacy and information from the Internet. It even involves a warning regarding how easy it can actually be to hack your information with just scraps and tidbits of information.
“This thread was brought to you by someone who [was] hacking accounts and systems at the age of 11,” he concludes. “There [are] much more talented and scarier threats out there now, not to mention most of your money is now online. Protect yourself at all costs, it’s only a few hours.”