A good deal of the information found in online databases is generated by us and our eagerness to keep our lives simple. Yet how much are we sharing? And to whom?

You cannot avoid surveillance, just like you cannot deny gravity, but there are measures you can take to protect yourself and your family. In this digital era, protecting personally identifiable information is of utmost importance. Hetherington Group and Paraben Corporation offer this fresh and informative user-friendly guide to help members of the general public understand the pros and cons of sharing personally identifiable information online and how to protect one’s self and loved ones from predators and fraudsters.

Part A of the report, Hg’s Opt Out Online, helps readers understand the dark side of information sharing, the pitfalls of oversharing, and how to reduce online risks. Appendix A offers useful tips for protecting personally identifiable information and preventing identity theft. Appendix B instructs on how to opt out of online vendors. Appendix C provides steps for removing personally identifiable information from three major DNA collection retrieval services. Part B of this report, Paraben’s The Internet of Things, explores connected devices and provides examples of best practices in order to exist as securely as possible in this connected world.

This report is meant to help facilitate your personal privacy in a very open online world. There is no one solution, no one vendor, that has all the answers. The best security practices start at home. Using this report as a guide, you can begin to remove, obstruct, or obscure the open source information that leaves you and your family vulnerable online.