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frank ahearn me convention 2019
Business | Business of Blogging

How to reduce your own digital footprint – Frank Ahearn at me convention 2019

During this year’s me convention by SXSW in Frankfurt as part of the Frankfurt Motor Show, I visited the first session of the day by Frank Ahearn. He is a privacy consultant who can reveal the footprints of people and find them, for example, after a sudden disappearance, as well as help people to disappear and protect you from people like him. He has been practising this profession for over 30 years, at that time he was able to track down any information without Internet and co. Because if a person suddenly disappears, so is his approach, he is not looking for the person directly, but “searches” what the person has left. Friends and family are of course the first port of call.

For example, if the missing person is a blogger, he finds out the mother’s number, volunteers as a New York Times contributor, and “flunkers” that they want to publish a daughter’s article but can not reach it, and ask the mother, whether she has contact with the daughter. He then calls the mother’s telecommunications company with the pretext accidentally deleted the number from the course of the phone, and if he could have the number which he called at the time and the time. Assuming that the mother immediately contacted the daughter from the same port. And he calls until he finally has a person on the phone who gives him the number without any further questions … Scenes that sound like the purest Hollywood movie. And yet they seem to be real. which gives him the number without further questions … Scenarios that sound like the purest Hollywood movie. And yet they seem to be real. which gives him the number without any further questions … Scenarios that sound like the purest Hollywood movie. And yet they seem to be real.

Frank Ahearn’s job is to either track down or cover up footprints. And that cover-up, or did not even arise, interested me the most. Almost every person has a footprint, whether digital or not / “in real life”.

Tips by Frank Ahearn to keep the personal (digital) footprint as low as possible

  • Don’t share online where you live
  • Keep the online shared information about you at the very minimum (company website, friends,…)
  • Don’t get food delivery (not only to the place where you live)
  • Don’t say something (online) if you don’t want it to be repeated by someone (!!)
  • Don’t share yourself (even in small talk, with friends, at the hairdresser, ONLINE, …)
  • = Don’t be trusting, you have to be cautious

Strictly speaking, yes, you should live as offline as possible if you do not want to be found by a skip tracer like Frank Ahearn, for whatever reason you decide to “go underground”. Or simply to live a “private life”, because who knows if some on the web freely accessible information can later be fatal and result in a lost job, a broken relationship, or something equally worse.


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