Raveen Kumar

Your data is not "truly" yours

The goal was simple, go through all the accounts in my Password Manager and delete unnecessary accounts. Little did I know this was an impossible task.

Totally I had about 1000+ accounts accumulated. Back in the day, I used many password managers and finally settled on an application a few years ago. I have been collecting accounts and passwords since around 2012 ish. So it has been around 10 years.

I also categorized it as folders recently for easier maintenance. Such as,

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Overall, I have reduced from 1000+ accounts to 232. Yes, I had about 700+ unused logins and accounts, ignoring duplicates.

While trying to delete unused logins, I started by visiting each site and deleting my accounts there before proceeding to delete it from my password manager. This was interesting at first. But as I started deleting, a pattern started to emerge. All sites that take user privacy easily made the deletion process also straightforward. For those websites that abuse your data, these were the common theme, when I tried to delete the account.

  1. Deletion link is not obvious
  2. Deletion link renamed to something called close, remove, etc. and cause further confusion.
  3. No deletion link provided at all
  4. Deletion can only happen if you email customer support either in chat or email, and even if you do, it takes days, weeks or sometimes months to respond.
  5. When customer service responds, you have to fill out a 1-page form with explanation and details.
  6. Finally, "YOU CANNOT DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT ON CERTAIN WEBSITES"
  7. The URL is changed now and the login I had for the previous URL is invalid, and the new URL is nowhere to be found.

While doing this, I found some useful sites that might help, but generally, they are outdated.

Here is some of the shit I had to go through. Look at this,

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And somebody just wrote "It's work" on a dead URL when I logged in.

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And some with errors like this.

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If you have not looked at your accounts, now is the time. And make sure that you use fake names and fake emails everywhere. Because that's the only way to keep your data without leaking. I found apple's hidemyemail feature very useful. I can create many throwaway emails and register to any website I want. I used to have a throwaway email before, but you can't create multiple accounts on the same website with the same email on most sites, so it has largely been useless.

With Google, Apple login, I don't have to create many new accounts and manage the passwords, but even this is a danger to privacy. The corporations own your account now.

And another issue is with crypto wallets, once you create it, there is no way to delete it. You can only forget it. It will exist on the blockchain forever. This is a huge problem because redundant data will keep accumulating. Many tech companies do purge periodically to remove unused accounts, last I remembered was when YouTube did and many lots many thousands and millions of subscribers.

The more you feed these corporations, the more they own you. Even in death, your data is still alive. I see my dead friends account on Facebook still, it’s weird. At least Facebook should move this to an area called RIP, for unused and for people who passed away.

Finally, I just gave up on deleting my accounts and organized my password manager. This is a lost cause. They have my data and I can do nothing about it. Even if I tried, it will take my entire lifetime to remove everything from everywhere.

Privacy Enjoyer GIFfrom Privacy Enjoyer GIFs

Be mindful of what you do online.

#elimination #minimalism #posts #technology