Over half of Americans would delete themselves from the internet if they could

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More than half of Americans (55%) surveyed in a new study from NordVPN say that they would choose to delete themselves from the internet if they could.

To compile its study, the VPN maker commissioned the market research firm Propeller Insights to survey 1,002 US consumers aged 18 and over in December of last year.

As to why respondents would choose to delete themselves from the internet if possible, 47 percent said they don’t trust the internet, another 46 percent said they have no reason to have their name on the internet and 42 percent said they fear that they will eventually be hacked. Surprisingly, 18 percent of those surveyed said they wish there wasn’t an internet while eight percent said that they don’t use the internet at all.

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When it came to the kind of information about themselves that respondents wanted permanently deleted from the internet, 6 in 10 Americans said they wanted their personal financial information wiped from the web. However, other information Americans want deleted from the internet included embarrassing moments (26%), old dating or social media profiles (26%), unflattering photos and videos (24%) and their previous employment history (23%).

Paying for anonymity

In our increasingly connected world, being truly anonymous is becoming harder to do though NordVPN’s survey also revealed that some users would pay big bucks to be anonymous online.

Of those surveyed, 31 percent said they would pay up to $100, 12 percent would pay between $101-$500 and 8 percent would pay between $500-$1000 and three percent would pay over $1000 to be anonymous online. 

While you can’t pay to be anonymous online, a VPN can prevent others from learning your IP address and your real location while an anonymous browser can help you avoid being tracked across the sites you visit on the web. As for your personal data, using a password generator or password manager to create and store strong, unique passwords can help safeguard your social media and other online accounts from hackers.

In a press release, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, Daniel Markuson provided further insight on the steps you can take to feel safer online, saying:

“While we can hope to remove some things about ourselves online, only better online habits can help people feel safer when they're on the internet. Using more sophisticated passwords, trusted cybersecurity tools (such as VPN, antivirus and password manager) and practicing a general awareness of threats will help people protect their most valuable information online for years to come.”

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.