Opting Out of Internet Search Engines

Powerful Internet search engines, combined with mapping programs, mean that your phone number is now a pathway to lead people to your doorstep.

To test this for yourself, enter your phone number, including area code, into Google’s Web site’s search box. If your phone number is listed, it will also include a clickable map with the location of your home. Another click gives directions to it. Very handy, and potentially very scary.

Google – and most other Web sites that offer reverse phone number look up options – offer mechanisms to remove your phone number and address from their database. Here’s a quick list of URLs to the removal pages for several of the more prominent ones:

Google - www.google.com/help/pbremoval.html

Switchboard.com - www.switchboard.com (search for your name and then click the add/remove link beside it)

Yahoo People Search - phone.people.yahoo.com/py/psPhoneSupp.py

Many online directories receive their information from Acxiom. You can ask Acxiom to remove you from their database by sending an email to optoutUS@acxiom.com.