As the Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, more of our personal information is becoming less personal. It is for this very reason that we have International Data Privacy Day, which is celebrated on January 28th each year to help raise awareness and promote education about online privacy.

Most people are okay with their personal data being online, simply clicking on “I agree” at any kind of privacy policy prompt without reading the fine print. But more often than not, many users aren’t really aware of what kind of information they’re giving up, and how valuable their personal data can be for businesses and advertising. If you’re fed up with all of your information being online, the bad news is that there isn’t a virtual index card with your data you can simply pull out of the web. The better news is that there are some steps you can take to delete some of your Internet footprints:

– Check out Google’s removal request tool: Google has a great tool that allows you to ask Google to remove search results or cached content if you believe the information warrants removal from Google’s services based on applicable laws. This is a simple form that can be filled out in a matter of minutes.

– Deleting accounts: When deleting accounts, you will notice that some sites simply “deactivate” them. A tip for these situations is to delete every bit of your information from these sites, then link the site to a newly-created email address, and then delete that email address. If you want to permanently delete your Facebook account without the option of reactivating it later on, type into your address bar. The only problem is, even after you delete your Facebook, some of your data footprints, especially those shared with third party applications, may still remain, which is explained in their privacy policy.

– Contact sites directly: This is definitely a tedious process, but you can contact particular sites and companies that have your personal information and politely ask them to erase it. If you find incorrect information about yourself on a background or people search site, check out this blog post that explains some ways you can remove the inaccurate information.

– Do not track: AVG security software has developed a tool that allows you to opt out of tracking on most web browsers. This means that browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox won’t be able to track your Internet behavior.

– Keep your identity protected: Remember, if you find false information, or are afraid that your data is being used fraudulently, signing up for an identity theft protection service can help notify you of any fraudulent activity concerning your identity.

The most important thing to keep in mind when  protecting your online privacy, is to be aware. Until there is further innovation that closes the rift between usability and consumer privacy, it is always a great idea to read privacy policies on sites that you know you will be entering any kind of personal information. Awareness is a great prevention tool, even if reading the fine print can be tedious.