How many websites and services you joined in your life?
How many you do you not even remember joining?
I'm sure you ask yourself these questions from time to time?
Well, if not, you should!
All of these companies have some data stored on you and this data will still getting shared and this is true of companies that you use daily, and those that you haven't maybe used for years. The less meta or actual data stored about you so the less power you give over to the data miners and advertising agencies. If only that were the only issue! What about data breaches, hacks and spam mails related to your old accounts can be whole other bag of bad fish!
Now the big question is: how can I get my data deleted? Sadly, most of the time it's not as easy as logging in and clicking on 'delete my account'. It should be but seldom is!
Many companies even use 'Dark Pattern' techniques to make it more difficult to delete an account. Dark patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things, which you probably ddn't want to be doing! Basically, the wording used on sites is written in a way that makes you it is for one thing but is actually for something else.
Now that you know dark patterns exist you might think twice about your Facebook or TripAdvisor accounts, perhaps even your Uber account (yes that's a tricky one).
Well, thankfully there is a solution for all of this.
And I do recommend taking an afternoon to go over all the accounts you do have a decide which ones you actually need and then delete the rest!
The easiest way to do so is called justdeleteme.xyz
Now bear in mind you still have to do this one account at a time, but this website guides you through every step you need to take.
Some tougher ones
Now remembering that companies like British Airways have had data breaches in the past, yet they don't want to give you an easy way to retrieve your data.
To delete your British Airways data you must send a request in writing. See this page for contact details:
Delta Airlines (SkyMiles) is not much better.
You cannot delete your account on the site. You must use the linked form. Then select SkyMiles → Update SkyMiles Account and request them to close your account.
Cloudflare, for example, yes the same cloudflare that claims to “protect you from evil” makes it extremely hard to delete your account.
Submit a support ticket using the Account category, and request account deletion in the message body. You must have no domains or credit cards attached to your account prior to requesting deletion.
You think Netflix has no data on you? Well, you would be wrong.
Cancel your Netflix membership, then contact support if you want immediate deletion, otherwise your account will be automatically deleted in 10 months.
PayPal, for example, claims the possibility to delete your account.
Log in. Click Profile near the top of the page. Click My settings. Click Close Account in the Account type section and follow the steps listed. Your account is never deleted, though.
Another example of the 'no way to delete an account' is on the PlayStation network.
It is just not possible to delete your PlayStation Network account. The best you can do is delete any personal information that you have stored on their website.
For all gamers Roblox gives you no option to delete your account.
"We currently do not have a feature for players to delete their accounts. If you no longer wish to play on your account, it will remain inactive until you're ready to play again"
Starbucks is not good either.
They will not delete your account but upon request they can:
“scramble all of your information so that you don’t receive emails and none of your information is available to them for potential fraud”
Put some distance between you and 'them'
I would also recommend changing your emails on the accounts you'd like to keep. For example, go and make an account with anoaddy, change every account you want to keep to an individual anoaddy email address which will then auto-forward emails to your actual email address. This way you learn with whom the companies share your email address and you can easily block them as needed.
Apple has a similar service called 'Sign In with Apple', but keep in mind that you then have all your emails forwarded by Apple and so are your logins. You might think this is not a big deal, but what if you one day don’t want to play in Apple's closed orchard anymore?
I strongly recommend anoaddy and hope you take the time to delete all the old accounts you don’t use anymore. This would be a great first step, followed by so many easy others, like switching to Linux, getting a phone that runs GrapheneOS and ditching Google, Facebook and all the other data hooverers and harvesters out there.
You'll find everything you need, right here in the Privacy Cookbook and we update it weekly!