Removing Personal Information From the InternetDecember 1st, 2008
The linked article addresses the question of how to remove embarrassing or career-impacting personal information from the internet. It turns out there are a lot of things that seemed like good ideas at the time but later turn negative—I think the most obvious are drunken/risqué pictures. The short answer is that it’s really difficult to remove things from the internet, and the best way is to make sure they never get there in the first place.
I’m at the point where I think carefully about what I write in website comments, to the point of the Digg comments on which I click the “thumbs up” icon. That information is stored somewhere, and even though some of it isn’t currently available for general viewing, it may not remain that way. Here on Chad’s News I have total control and can change anything. Yet there’s The WayBackMachine, the Google cache, The Coral Content Distribution Network, and other caching or archiving services. Those are much more difficult to modify.
My previous employer checked me out on the web before hiring me, as did a woman I met on match.com. Fortunately I “passed” whatever tests they were giving me. This shows, however, how much my online presence can affect my life.