Just Delete Me: Protecting your digital footprint

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX)-- It's the gift and the curse of the web.
The digital age has allowed us to connect more than ever before. Sharing photos with friends in just one click, online blogging, listening to music... You name it-you can probably do it online. But the more you share, the more your information is at risk.

"It is unbelievable; they know how old you are, where you live, they know your interests," said USA Today Tech expert Jefferson Graham. "It's scary how much they know, and it's hard to get rid of all of the things that they've collected about you."

That information can stay with the company forever, even after you die!

One of our WLTXers has had this very problem. John Burbage had a Foursquare account that he wanted to delete.

"I just wasn't using it," said Burbage. "With a lot of the different spying, NSA reports-I felt like perhaps my privacy was in jeopardy."

Sometimes, the option to get rid of your info is buried between layers of clicks and pages. News19 found the site justdelete.me lists hundreds of sites, showing if it's easy, medium, hard, or impossible to delete.

"It put me right on their sub-link to begin the process," Burbage added. "Certain websites are harder or more difficult than others."

Permanently getting rid of John's Foursquare took just a few seconds. But that's not the case for every log-in.

"They don't want you to delete that information because that's how they make money. They have these websites that are based on selling advertising, and they know everything about you. Your zip code, your age," added Graham. "The more information they have, the more money they can get from advertisers and they want to keep that going."

But for some pages... deleting just isn't an option. take Starbucks for example.

News19 reached out to Starbucks to see if it was at all possible? An email from a spokesperson said "At this time, there is no option to fully delete a profile."

The bottom line... be mindful of what you put out there to safeguard your personal information.

"You can't un-type it. You can't un-post it, you can't un-see it or un-say it anymore," said Burbage. "It's out there somewhere so minimize your risk by simply minimizing what you say, do, and type."

Frequently deleting cookies from your computer will also help prevent website from tracking you.


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