This tool allows you to erase your personal data online in a few clicks

Erasing all traces of one’s digital life may seem like a daunting task for the millions of Internet users who proliferate their personal data on the web. But three young Israelis have developed a tool to help them with just a few clicks.

After their military service in the cybersecurity units of the Israeli army, a few years ago Gal Ringel, Gal Golan and Kobi Nissan founded the company “Mine” that aims to help internet users to be forgotten as easily as possible thanks to artificial intelligence.

A user enters their email address on the group’s site which, with the help of artificial intelligence, lists all the companies the user has had contact with and shows what data has been shared (date of birth, home address, bank details, etc.).

The user can then decide to contact each company to request that their data be deleted, with an email template prepared by Mine, which also ensures that they do not have access to the content of the emails, but only up to the “subject” line of the act.

“You are the sole owner of your data”claims the company on its website. “Our technology gives you access, transparency and control over the data you share online”

According to Gal Ringel, one million people have already used “Mine” services, which are free for individuals and paid for by companies, and ten million data erasure requests have been sent to companies.

“We’re not telling people not to use Facebook or Google, but we’re saying, like you like using the internet, we’ll show you who knows what about you and what the risks are,” Mr. Ringel explains to AFP.

Insufficient regulation

“Mine” isn’t the only tool to track and erase digital data, but its creators believe it to be one of the simplest and most widely used.

In Israel, legislation is lagging behind and unable to meet today’s digital challenges, said Naama Matarasso Karpel, director of Privacy Israel, an NGO fighting for the right to privacy through education and legislation.

The country, which bills itself as the ‘start-up nation’ due to its bubbling high-tech sector, does not have the equivalent of the GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation adopted by the European Union (EU) in 2018. become an international reference and in particular the right to erasure of data on the Internet is established.

Hackers also recently managed to break into the database of Atraf, an Israeli LGBTQ site, and that of Shirbit, a local insurance company.

“Privacy is a bit like health or air, you don’t feel like you need it until you realize you really miss it”says Naama Matarasso Karpel.

According to her, companies are aware of the issue of online confidentiality faster than individuals, convinced that it can be an asset to bring forward to build a sense of trust with their customers.

“Mine”, which has just been contacted by companies looking to strengthen this confidentiality, has developed a special tool for the private sector to tell where customer data is stored and to simplify the often “annoying” steps to delete it, explains the Mr Ringel out. †

However, not all data is identifiable and some cannot be legally deleted, limiting the Israeli company’s activities.

Deleting data is generally “a complicated technical exercise”notes Omer Tene, co-founder of the Israel Tech Policy Institute, a research center in Tel Aviv.

Since there are fifty shades of data online, “it’s hard to keep that promise to delete things online at the touch of a button”he notes.


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