You may be surprised by how much big data knows about you

How to minimize your online information

Look at big data as a complex network of entities gathering your information.

If you are curious how much of your information is out there, check out this site: Its homepage says it won’t use your information for marketing purposes.

I plugged in the basics, including my date of birth and address, and within seconds the website returned with more personal information than I bargained for. It was close to accurate on my household income, the size of my home, the fact I had children, the type of items I buy along with my college education and what vehicle I drive.

None of that surprised Bill Newton with the Consumer Action Network.

There are some relatively simple steps you can take to put less of yourself out there.

1) Clear your Facebook and Google search histories.
2) Create an anonymous email account for your activities on the web.

3)  Utilize your smartphones to put a block on ad-tracking.

You can also use a private search engine such as and There is an opt-out option that allows you to avoid one advertising consortium's ad-targeting activities. Although it's no guarantee, you won't get hit with generic advertisements online or elsewhere.

Your Google account knows a lot about you as well, which is another reason to use a private search engine. You can go in Google and opt out of future interest-based ads across the web.
Print this article Back to Top