This is a never-ending story! People will never realize that once data has been published online, it is a nightmare to try to remove it. Here is another example…
In parallel to this blog, I’m playing with another website called leakedin.com. The purpose is to educate people about the huge amount of data that can be posted on the Internet without their prior consent, by mistake or, worse, wittingly! The website compiles interesting data collected from paste websites using my tool pastemon. Everything is automated and some content can be grabbed just before being removed by the website maintainers (pastebin.com looks more and more aggressive on this point). I completely agree on the fact that some content might be offensive for some people. That’s why my website proposes an abuse page to report such content. When something is reported, the content is immediately removed. My goal is not to offense people! A few days ago I received this message:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: please remove ASAP! My Social Security # is on your website in 2 different locations. It originated on pastebin and has since been deleted from their website. Please remove both links from Leakedin.com. http://www.leakedin.com/2012/05/04/xxxxxx http://www.leakedin.com/2012/05/04/yyyyyy Thanks, xxxxxx xxxxx
A few hours later, the content was removed and I notified the person with a standard reply. Then, a second message came in:
From: email@example.com Subject: Re: please remove ASAP! Thanks for deleting 2 links with my SS# (see below) but I still see it when googling my name "xxxxx". Please help!! Thank you, LeakedIn » Blog Archive » Potential leak of data: US SSN www.leakedin.com/2012/05/04/xxxxx/ May 4, 2012 - J 08213 xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx MS xxx xx/xx/xxxx xxx-xx-xxxx xx/xx/xxxx xxx-xx-xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxx LeakedIn » Blog Archive » Potential leak of data: US SSN www.leakedin.com/2012/05/04/xxxxx/ May 4, 2012 - ... xxxx xxxx xxxx xx xxxxx xx/xx/xxxx xxx-xx-xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xx xxxxx xx/xx/xxxx xxx-xx-xxxx ...
Ok, ok, how to answer in a comprehensive and polite way? We are not in a Holliwood movie, there is no way to rollback in the past and forget what happened using a neuralizer! There is no “format” nor “delete” button on the Internet. I won’t say it’s impossible to get rid of all your private data. There are even companies which sell their services to build you a brand clean online profile (against lot of $$$).
This example was based on private data related to one person. I let you imagine when a company looses thousands of records or publishes by accident condifential data. Such incidents occur every day. The correct title for this article should be “You just have been… indexed!“.