More than a third of Canadians say they would completely wipe out their online presence if they could, according to a new survey.
The survey, commissioned by cybersecurity and VPN provider NordVPN, polled 10,800 participants from 11 countries, including 1,000 Canadians. It found that 36 percent of Canadians would “remove themselves” from the Internet if they could.
Additionally, 48 percent of Canadians felt they were being taken advantage of by companies collecting their data, while 47 percent expressed concern that someone could eventually hack their devices.
“While removing yourself from the Internet sounds like a good idea to those concerned about their personal information being accessible to the wrong actors, you have to ask yourself if it’s possible to completely wipe the slate clean from home in our digital world,” said NordVPN . Digital privacy expert Daniel Marcuson in Tuesday’s news release.
Canada was the country with the highest percentage of respondents who wanted their financial information deleted. Of Canadian respondents, 60% said they would most like to see their personal financial information wiped from the Internet, compared to 56% of Australians and 52% of Britons.
Unflattering photos, embarrassing moments, old acquaintances and social media profiles, and previous work experience were other examples of information Canadians said they wanted deleted.
Last year, a federal judge ruled that Google’s search results are subject to Canada’s privacy laws, a victory for digital privacy activists who have called on Canada to affirm the “right to be forgotten.” The case involved a man who asked Google to de-index articles that appeared in searches for his name.
NordVPN recommends deleting old profiles on social networks you don’t use or making them private. The company also encourages you to send takedown requests to the web giants asking them to delete any information they have about you.
“While this doesn’t guarantee they’ll comply, many will, and it’s a good way to get companies like Facebook to delete the data they still hold on you after you’ve deleted your account,” says NordVPN.