Disappearing from the Internet - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Disappearing from the Internet

(WFLX) - Every time you log onto the Internet, with each friend request, Tweet and post, you leave behind a piece of your digital DNA. So what happens if you find yourself wanting to erase yourself from the Web?

Take the case of a woman we'll call "Cecelia". "They were telling me to stay away from my daughter," she said. "They were telling me they were going to get me."

She's a domestic violence survivor. She escaped 15 years of mental, emotional and physical abuse.

Years later, she felt safe enough to open a Facebook account. "Why is he allowed to constantly jump into my life and harass me and say things?" she asked about her former husband.

Facebook helped Cecilia keep in touch with her children in a different part of the state, but, ultimately, she says it led to vicious cyberstalking. "My ex husband used it as a way to antagonize me and haunt me," she said.

Privacy consultant Frank Ahearn helps people, like Cecelia, use social media to disappear. His suggestions could help you clean up minor indiscretions, embarrassing photos or a past you simply don't want to talk about. "You can't erase the past. Sometimes, you can deviate it; something you can delete," he said.

The idea is to make sure no one can connect you to your old life or have any physical evidence connecting you to your new one. "Once I get a person from point A to point B there's nothing that can connect them to a physical location," said Ahern.

For serious cases, Ahearn suggests creating bogus information, multiple fake Facebook pages, Web sites, or even businesses under your name or a variation of your name. That way someone stalking you will find it much harder to track down the real you.

As for Cecelia, she hasn't been able to completely erase her ex-husband from her personal or digital life. "When I see him on Facebook, it makes me pray that, you know, how you pray for your enemies? So, I pray that he meets God soon. or finds God. I don't care."

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