Data brokers collect and sell various data about your online activity to companies. This can include your name, job, purchases, or overall fitness level. Let's look at some ways you can stop data brokers from making a profit off of you.
You can fill out a manual request to help stop data brokers. Each data brokerage firm has specific procedures to remove your private information. It is 100% your right to opt out, so the process is completely free.
Some of the firms will just ask you to fill out a form, but others are a lot more strict. You may need to provide extensive proof of identity.
But don't expect the process to be quick; it could be weeks, months, or even years before your data is wiped.
Here is a list of data brokerage firms you should try to remove yourself from:
Do Not Call Registry
Under the FTC, you can request to be removed from the telemarketer's call list. To register, head to the National Do Not Call Registry. It will ask you for your number and email to confirm.
This won't stop charities, political groups, or bill collectors. But if telemarketers violate the terms, you can report them.
The process typically takes a month to complete.
Information Removal Service
If you don't want to do the work yourself, there are companies that will do the heavy lifting for you.
They will also send regular data reports.
And periodically, these services will continue scanning to see if any new companies got access to your info, and request to delete it.
Hire Reputation Management Services
For public figures, reputation management services are great ways to stop data brokers.
They're not as accurate as firms like DeleteMe, but they approach data removal more holistically.
They can help you identify what to remove and what to keep.
The reputation management services' goal is to improve your public image and keep your data safe.
Make Your Data Worthless
If you keep your data private when browsing the interweb, it can be worthless to data brokers. Consider using some private tools to make your info harder to collect.
Private operating systems like Tails delete all traces if you boot via USB.
A VPN creates an encrypted connection between a computer and the internet so your traffic is hidden.
And private browsers like Brave and LibreWolf block ads, fingerprinting, and ad trackers by default.
You can send a manual request to several companies and have them remove your data. Make sure the request form is free. If you're paying for it, it's probably a scam!
DeleteMe or Incogni can do the work and request data removal on your behalf. They'll send reports and perform periodic scans to make sure nothing new comes up.
Reputation management services are great options for influencers who want their information out there, just not everything.
And the best way to stop data brokers is to give them nothing. Use the internet as privately as possible.