Want to remove information about yourself online? You're not alone

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Valery Brozhinsky)

A growing number of internet users have attempted to remove information about themselves online, but in many cases have failed to protect their privacy, new figures have shown.

Four in five people (82 percent) surveyed in a major study by Kaspersky said they had tried to remove private information which had been publicly available, either from websites or social media channels, recently.

However a third (37 percent) of those surveyed had no idea of how to remove details about themselves online.

Privacy flaw

Kaspersky's study also found that more and more users have seen their data put at risk as consumers share more information online.

The survey of more than 15,000 respondents found that over a third (34 percent) of consumers have faced incidents where their private information was accessed by someone who did not have their consent. 

Of these incidents, over a quarter (29 percent) resulted in financial losses and emotional distress, and more than a third (35 percent) saw someone able to gain access to personal devices without permission.

This rises to 39 percent among those aged between 25 and 34, despite younger internet users often being expected to have higher levels of technological literacy. Overall, one in five people say they are concerned about the personal data that organisations are collecting about them and their loved ones.

The news came shortly after a similar study reported more than half of American citizens would not to use a product or a service that might disclose their personal information

Even using a VPN may not be enough to secure your privacy online, with a recent TechRadar Pro study finding that the privacy of millions could be jeopardised by little-known information sharing treaties designed to sidestep surveillance law.

Almost half (46.6 percent) of all VPN services are headquartered in countries known to participate in the Fourteen Eyes intelligence sharing pact, meaning members could use its terms to circumvent laws that prohibit the surveillance of citizens, which poses a significant threat to privacy-focused users.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.