If I tell you Surfshark, you necessarily think VPN and security. But did you know that Surfshark also hunts down the information many companies have about you?
Indeed, companies called Data Brokers (brokers in French) aim to collect, aggregate and monetize your personal data without you having the slightest idea. This data is collected from the websites you visit, the applications you use on your mobile devices or the online stores where you buy the latest fashionable items.
But these Data Brokers do not stop there, since they cross-check and enrich this data by scraping public data available on the Internet. It is difficult to realize but it is rather massive and detailed. You can find contact information (telephone numbers, address, email, etc.) but also all your surfing and consumption habits or even security numbers, identity card numbers, etc. Then this data can leak following a hack, be used to send you targeted advertising or worse, feed your insurance paperwork.
This is why Surfshark launched the platform Incogni.com who contacts all these Data Brokers for you to ask them to delete the data concerning you.
So how does it work?
Well, once registered on the platform and the subscription paid (5.79 € / month for the annual subscription), you must first enter your personal data. Incogni will ask you for your full name, email and postal address so that the data belonging to you is correctly identified and deleted.
Step number 2 is to empower a lawyer from Icogni who will authorize him to contact the data brokers in order to request on your behalf that the data be removed from their databases. This also allows, if the request is refused, to contact the local data protection services (CNIL and company) on your behalf in order to formalize a complaint against a particular data broker. And once the request to delete your data is made by the Data Broker, the power given to the lawyer is revoked.
As you will have understood, we are on something serious and solid, which uses legal and privacy laws such as the GDPR, CCPA and PIPEDA to ensure that your data is really deleted from all these bases.
Requests closely followed
Following my cleaning request, more than 90 requests were sent and after a few days, 18 Data Brokers have already erased my data.
Obviously, it will still take a little time, but a dashboard allows you to follow it in detail. It shows the name of the brokers, the sensitivity of the data they have and the type of marketing service they render to their clients.
The Incogni service thus references 146 of these brokers and works in all European countries but also in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Switzerland.
Everything is automated, which is a great time saver. If you contacted each of these brokers and then had to escalate to privacy agencies if denied, it would take you forever. Not to mention that Incogni, once the work is done, remains on permanent standby and regularly contacts these Data Brokers to ensure that your data has not been retrieved again or added to a different database.
As you will have understood, Incogni is a good solution to clean up after years of online neglect.