Deleting your cookies, clearing your browsing history, and removing yourself from subscribed lists is an easy way to get rid of the data that builds up on your computer. They’re there for your convenience, so you can control how much you use them. But what about your personal data that builds up on the Internet, rather than on your own computer? That’s usually much harder to get rid of, and quite difficult to track down in the first place.
So how can you control your online identity? Abine may have the answer.
An online privacy company, Abine has recently released the DeleteMeMobile app to help strip your personal data from the web. It’s quite common for data broker sites to collect and store your personal information from forms and other things you post online, which they then monetize in the form of advertising and selling your information to interested companies.
Whether you’ve explicitly allowed it or not, this data gathering creates a profile-type composition that’s a representation of you on the web. And as Abine privacy analyst Sarah Downey points out:
This collection of digital data is leading to the creation of a ‘digital you,’ and increasingly, decisions are being made based on this version of you, such as your credit scores, ability to get loans, insurance premiums, online shopping prices and whether you’re hired.
DeleteMeMobile was developed to strip this information from data broker sites so they’re unable to use or sell it as they see fit. You can download the app, which is free, and then input some basic information about yourself to start searching data sites. (It should be noted that the information you enter is kept confidential, so you don’t have to worry about it increasing your online privacy issues).
The app will return listings of you found on various data broker sites, which you can peruse, to ensure they’re actually you, and choose to delete. The app comes with one free data-removal, after which Abine offers a 3-month subscription for $24.99 that allows unlimited removals. Abine then handles all the legwork involved in getting your personal information removed from data sites (contact, requests, etc.). Because as Abine CEO Bill Kerrigan says,
Many data brokers make it confusing, difficult, and time-consuming for consumers to remove their information from being sold, and current laws and regulations do not offer enough protection from its harmful effects.
Abine, which is based out of Boston, also offers other online services that help scour the Internet to make the ‘digital you’ more secure. DoNotTrackMe helps to prevent data tracking before it even starts, and MaskMe works to stop spam from being directed to your email.
It’s not always easy to keep track of your digital footprint, considering most people sign-up for something new everyday, and your personal information can keep reappearing even after you think you’ve deleted it. Hopefully Abine and DeleteMeMobile can be your personal monitor to take back the online you.