Speaking to Agence France-Presse, three former military cyber specialists claim their company can wipe you off the internet. Their company, Mine, already has more than a million satisfied customers! These customers were looking to wipe clean all their online data , as stated in the EU’s GDPR rule.
Under the European rules, which are now applicable virtually globally, citizens have 3 main rights:
- Be informed when your information is collected
- Have reasonable access to the service even when you don’t allow data collection
- Request a company to remove all your information from its servers
A company needs to honor all the above statements for services like Mine to work. That way, once the user has their device and usernames, they can request to remove all their data from the servers completely.
According to Mine’s three founders, Kobi Nissan, Gal Golan, and Gal Ringel, the app uses AI to quickly sum up all the places where their private information is handled. This also allows them to quickly remove all of it with just a button.
Additionally, users can separate the wanted from the unwanted. That way, “we can save email addresses and crucial communication apps, while we remove shopping cookies and other surveillance software,” claims Ringel.
The Right to Be Forgotten
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you only loan your information to websites and apps; you don’t gift it. You own all of your information, including the meta-information, such as cookies and other identifiable data.
Even if you allow cookies, the collected data should only help improve or establish a service within reason. Moreover, once you wish to remove all your data from the servers, CRMs, and other data-collecting devices, the company has to comply.
Because we often say the “internet never forgets”, people have dubbed this right as The Right to Be Forgotten. Now, you can also exercise this right against even the biggest tech giants like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft.
For most users, the issue lies in remembering how many websites they have allowed cookies and tracking. In most cases, one would need to go through each website manually and send a written request for data removal.
The Mine developers imagined this process in a simple click. This way, you can be certain that your information is no longer present in all the places you have visited, not just the biggest websites you can remember.
How Does the Mine Service Work?
Although the result of Mine’s AI is easy to use, the intricacy behind it is not simple. To achieve the desired effect, the application will mark all of the information you have. Then, it has to re-trace it to where it is also stored online.
This is using a digital fingerprint and can be explained as ‘’Google for computers’’. It will find specific digital information, and not a general human term. The AI will formulate findings inside the app and show exactly who has been keeping your data, where, and for how long.
Once you have that information, you can choose to remove some or all of it. For many, this can be a life-saving option and prevent snoopers, stalkers, or even blackmailers.
Mine has likely received recognition after the 2021 hacking of an Israeli LGBT dating site. This hack resulted in widespread extortion, threats, and social unrest in the local LGBT community in a rather conservative country.
After-The-Fact Cyber Hygiene
Cyber hygiene is one of the cornerstones of individual cybersecurity. The Right To Be Forgotten can also be a tool to remove the information you have missed or no longer wish to provide.
Under the six GDPR privacy principles, data minimization is one of them. Yet, we can still ask: is removing your information post festum just as good as not providing it, to begin with?
Naama Matarasso Karpel, in front of the Privacy Israel advocacy group, admits that most customers came after large hacking scandals in the country and massive data leaks from private and public sources. She professes that “Privacy is a bit like health or air—we don’t really feel the need for it until we really see how much we lack it.’’
Still, the Mine service, which offers easy access to cleaning up your digital footprint, will be beneficial.
It is still better not to leave any footprints online than needing to clear them.
Important for Companies and Individuals
Public awareness is relatively low, so we often direct individuals to cybersecurity. Namely, only those who know about online risks care to investigate the current happenings. Yet, cybersecurity is even more important for businesses. Companies should also have a way to clear their data from other services.
Depending on the industry, all companies constantly share data with their partners, customers, and various institutions and groups. This can be for marketing or business purposes, like CRM providers. What’s more, after the HubSpot hack, we know that even the biggest SaaS providers are at risk. That also makes data sharing in companies a big issue.
A service that clears any tracking information will not allow companies to clear legal information such as taxes. Yet, it would allow them to periodically clean their former data from all external services. This will likely be a major boon for enterprise cybersecurity.
Prevention Is Better than the Cure
For those who wish to be safe from everything lurking on the internet, services like Mine are certainly a welcome sight. They offer you a way to remove your digital fingerprint from the internet, making the task less cumbersome and time-consuming. That way, more people would be able to keep their private lives private.
Yet, even though this ability exists, you shouldn’t make it your primary protection method. It is always better to keep your data dissemination at a minimum in the first place and reduce the primary risk of data leakage. Being able to vacuum breadcrumbs is a good thing, but it is much better not to eat in bed in the first place.