There has been a little storm of news recently about the website called JustDelete.Me, which is admittedly an exciting concept. I had beautiful visions of some kind of push-button magical device that would enable me to input an email address or something and have it spit out a list of online accounts I have, which I could then prune. Okay, maybe I need to cut down on the rainbows and fairy dust – I can’t help myself sometimes. What I actually saw was much more reasonable, in that it was a big ol’ list of sites and links to information on how to delete your accounts from web services.
It didn’t take much scrolling before my brows started to furrow. I can see that it is impossible to delete some accounts. Wait, what? Impossible to delete my accounts? Oh, I don’t like that at all. And it’s not just a few oddball sites that I’ve never heard of.
There are a lot of sites and services on this list that do not allow you to easily delete your account. “Impossible,” is what JustDelete.Me tells me. Now, I appreciate that deleting my online accounts should be a secure process, and that not just any person can do it, either by accident or maliciously. But there should be no accounts for which deletion is impossible.
There are a ton of legitimate reasons to delete an online account, but it all breaks down to this: Your info is your info. If you want to withdraw your info at any time, you should have full rights to do that, no matter what website you’ve previously offered it to.
Much like getting sites to use HTTPS rather than an unsecured HTTP connection whenever you log into it, this may be something that we all need to advocate for. If it’s important to you to be able to have complete control over your information and whether you can retract it at some point in the future, at your discretion, we need to let these sites know that this is a matter of online privacy and something that we care about.
So, in a sense, JustDelete.Me is not only a cool security tool to let us have more control over those floating accounts we sometimes forget we have. It’s also a cool tool to let us know which sites are allowing us to control where our data resides.