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Incogni: tool for requesting the erasure of personal data
Someone has written or phoned you with an unsolicited business offer and you ask: where did they get my phone number, where did they get my personal information, how do they know so much information about me? They simply bought them from data brokers. Wondering who they are and how to delete your personal data with them? Incogni can help you do this. You will find out how that works in this article.
To explain at the outset, Incogni will not ask companies like Google, Facebook, your favourite e-shop or even the city council to delete your personal data. Incogni asks for the deletion of personal data from data brokers who obtain information about you all over the internet, from websites, apps, online games, social networks and so on. Are you wondering how this is possible?
Who is a data broker?
Data brokers are companies that own computer systems that collect vast amounts of personal data about all of us. From the data they collect, which comes from different sources, they create a profile for your persona, but also create sets of audiences of, for example, similar interests. This information is then sold by data brokers to marketers and trading companies, who present you with various business offers based on this information.
Where does the data broker get the data?
In e-shops, in comments, on social media, in apps, on websites, in public records like the business register, from seemingly serious marketing surveys and so on.
Data broker systems can crawl the entire web and collect seemingly innocuous information from which they build a personal profile of you. These information gatherers can not only collect information, but also analyse and cleanse it to make such data as accurate as possible for marketing or other purposes.
Of course, you try to protect your personal information as much as possible. But sometimes you put a review of a business on Google, on Heureka, on Facebook. Sometimes you post something in a Facebook group, post something on Twitter or Instagram, you have your own website.
But now imagine you install an app on your phone that a million other users have installed before you. Such an application is harmless, isn’t it?
We certainly can’t lump all apps together, but the threat is there, and those apps can gather all sorts of information about us. And far more sensitive than a website.
Apps can get data from your geolocation so they know you’ve been to the dentist, the gynecologist, the newsagent. Now imagine that they get data from your smartwatch to do this. Suddenly they have a perfect personality profile and know what you do, where you go, when you play sports, when you shop, where you shop. And did you know that the data about you, and indeed about all of us, is easy to buy. Crazy, right?
Fortunately, we have the right to erasure thanks to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
How does Incogni help here?
It simply contacts the data brokers (data brokers) on your behalf to ask them to delete any data they have on you in their databases. They have to do it because there are laws for that. In Europe it is GDPR and in the US CCPA.
But the problem is that the deletion of the data is not so easy. The data collectors have big money in this, so they try to avoid complying with the data removal request in various ways by obstruction and shuffling between departments. It takes time, so the common man gives up after a while.
This is where Incogni comes in. It has legal experience and automated systems. The tool will make it easier for you to read a bunch of legislation, make it easier for you to read emails and keep track of whether you’ve even received a reply to your email. In the tool, you will simply follow the progress of the entire process, which is taken care of by Incogni.
How does Incogni work?
You need to register for the service and sign a power of attorney document to handle data deletions. Once you have done this, Icogni will take care of contacting the data brokers on your behalf. They currently have 130+ companies in their database that collect and sell personal data. There are plans to expand them in the future.
In the user interface, you can then monitor: how many companies have been contacted, which companies have deleted your data, which companies are currently deleting your data from their database.
What is Incogni?
Incogni is a tool (service) that takes care of the deletion of personal data at various data collectors and brokers (data brokers) who both collect and successfully sell the data. Incogni has experience in getting these entities to delete your data.
Surfshark is behind Incogni. This is the provider of another internet privacy and anonymization service – Surfshark VPN. If you haven’t heard of VPNs and are wondering how to use one to help your online privacy, then head over to our Best VPN article to learn more about virtual private networks
How much does it cost to delete data with Incogni?
Incogni is paid for in annual or monthly payments. It is more advantageous to pay for the whole year. With an annual subscription, Incogni costs $77.88 ($6.49 per month). With monthly payments, it costs $12.99. That’s twice as much as the annual payment. Of course, everyone has to calculate for themselves whether it is worth contacting data brokers themselves or through Incogni.
Because the collection of data about you does not end with one deletion. While the company is obliged to delete your data, nothing prevents it from collecting it again. So it’s not like you ask for the deletion of your personal data once and you’re done. Incogni sends data erasure requests automatically effectively ensuring that your data is off the market for as long as you pay Incogni.
Don’t underestimate the protection of your privacy
Incogni can help you delete your data. It’s information you don’t even realise can be misused. Data collectors can use and monetize it after all. I’ve got another tip to help you better protect your own privacy online. It will certainly help you not only in the overview of how data brokers can obtain data about your person from you unobtrusively