The Internet has proven to be both an invaluable resource and a highly invasive form of technology. It makes our lives easier by permitting instant web searches on any topic imaginable, and it has made physical encyclopedias an archaic concept. We're also able to stay in touch with our distant friends and relatives easily through a variety of social media channels. You wouldn't even be reading this article if it weren't for the Internet.

However, the interconnected and permanent nature of the web has created some valid concerns over privacy. Once something makes its way onto the Internet, it should be expected that it's there to stay. For better or for worse, removing or suppressing an image or piece of information from the web is extremely difficult. Data can be duplicated, backed up, reposted, and shared around the world in the blink of an eye.

Fortunately, if you need to erase your digital identity and disappear online, there are some steps you can take to remove your personal information. It may not be a foolproof solution, but the infographic below provides a number of good suggestions on this topic:

Disappear online 1
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Disappear online 3

As CNet Senior Editor Eric Franklin puts it, “Even if you've never set foot on the Internet, your information is out there, and by ‘out there' I mean available to the public. If that concept makes you nervous or concerns you in any way, then it probably should.” Eric's article on Five Ways to Delete Yourself from the Internet is a good read, so check it out if you'd like to learn more about this topic.

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