One in three people want to be ‘deleted’ from the internet, survey finds

23 Aug 2022

Image: © fran_kie/

Nearly half of respondents to a NordVPN survey thought there was ‘no reason’ for their name to be on the internet.

A survey of more than 10,000 people globally has found that more than a third would choose to delete themselves from the internet if given the option.

Commissioned by cybersecurity company NordVPN and conducted by Cint, the survey asked 10,800 people across the world for their views on online habits and internet privacy.

When asked for a reason for their aversion to being on the internet, nearly half (45pc) of the respondents said that there was “no reason” for their name to be online, while 42pc said they feel used because companies collect their data and use it to their advantage.

It is estimated by DataReportal that nearly two-thirds (63pc) of the world’s population has an online presence.

But many have privacy and security concerns, according to the NordVPN survey, with 34pc of respondents saying they feel someone will eventually hack their devices as a result of being on the internet and 31pc saying they just don’t trust the internet.

Financial security was also a top concern, with half of the respondents saying they would most like their personal financial information to be deleted from the internet.

Other undesirable data cited by respondents included unflattering photos and videos, embarrassing moments, old dating and social media profiles, and previous employment history.

Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, said that while removing oneself from the internet may sound like a good idea for those concerned about their personal information, “you have to ask yourself if wiping the slate totally clean is even possible in our digital-dominant world”.

While some personal information can be removed from the internet by deleting profiles and requesting takedowns on websites, Markuson said only “better online habits” can help people feel safer when using the internet.

“Using more sophisticated passwords and trusted cybersecurity tools such as a VPN, antivirus and password manager, and practising a general awareness of threats will help people protect their most valuable information online for years to come.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic