×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Getting an Uncooperative Website To Delete One's Account?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the if-you-reply-to-a-phantom-comment-do-you-exist? dept.

Privacy 171

First time accepted submitter trentfoley writes "I've been trying to clean up my digital life (insert joke about having a life) and have run into a situation I fear is too common. Many social websites, nextdoor.com in particular, do not allow a user to delete the account they created. In the case of nextdoor.com, their privacy policy makes it clear that the user owns all of their data. If this is true, I should have the right to destroy that data. These lines of thought brought to mind the recent privacy defeat in Europe. Does the defeat of the EU's Right-to-be-Forgotten legislation bring a practical end to this debate?" I've read complaints today from Nextdoor.com users who say their data was sold, too.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

171 comments

call them (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#45807745)

I've gotten a lot of sites that don't let you delete accounts to delete the account by simply calling them. Their numbers are often hard to find but get them on the phone and ask nicely.

Re:call them (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#45807769)

Common advice for getting that big social networking site to respond to requests is to mail a paper letter to their HQ, possibly attn: legal affairs. Apparently the success rate is very high.

Re:call them (5, Informative)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 4 months ago | (#45807967)

Common advice for getting that big social networking site to respond to requests is to mail a paper letter to their HQ, possibly attn: legal affairs. Apparently the success rate is very high.

another good way is if there is a place to put age set is as under 12 many will delete it immediately due to law concerning keeping data about children.

Re:call them (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 4 months ago | (#45808421)

Yup. Works for most companies, since legal people tend to take (well-written and informed) documents seriously.

Re:call them (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808537)

FYI:

Entity Name: NEXTDOOR.COM, INC.
Entity Number: C3063398
Date Filed: 01/24/2008
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: DELAWARE
Entity Address: 101 SPEAR STREET SUITE 230
Entity City, State, Zip: SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105
Agent for Service of Process: WILSON CHAN
Agent Address: 101 SPEAR ST STE 230
Agent City, State, Zip: SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105

Re:call them (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#45807785)

Being nice is generally the key to resolving these things quickly and in your favor. Come in threatening lawsuits, and they'll ignore you until you actually engage a lawyer (at your own expense. )

Re:call them (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 4 months ago | (#45807787)

And if that doesn't work then change as much as you can. Your email address should be the easiest. Then any other personal information that you can alter. If they won't delete it then make it worthless to them.

And this is another reason to fight against the current trend of requiring real names for accounts.

Re:call them (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807961)

And change the photos, and put nasty notes (they lie, you don't really have control of your account, etc.) in watermarks on the photos, and add new such photos. Do it slowly, a little each day for a couple months. Then just let it sit without warning them. Then don't delete it even if they want you to and re-create it each time they delete it. Create new accounts wilh nothing but bogus information using burner email accounts. Make them wish they had treated you right, even once they start treating you right.

Re:call them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808479)

I've never given correct information to any website to start. It was completely obvious that they would use that information to their advantage as that is what capitalist corporations *do*.

Was there ever an advantage to me having the information with them? Is the information needed for them to perform a service for me? If the answer to those questions is no, then they get BS info, and a lower level password I keep in a protected space with all the rest.

If a company truly needs correct information from me, then I'm considerably more careful. However, that is actually quite rare. In most cases I can obfuscate and lie about my identity, even with paid services. Although they are working to plug those "meta" holes by heavily restricting just what you can purchase with prepaid credit cards, money orders, etc.

Social Networking is just plain dangerous when the information is centralized, and I never fell for it. It didn't matter what they were offering. I'm only interested in a completely decentralized, encrypted, p2p model similar to OneSocialMedia and Diaspora. Basically, if the infrastructure is inherently resistant towards surveillance and monetization by hostile parties (I consider advertising and marketing to be extremely hostile to my life) then I'm interested.

This post is a question about how to mitigate or outright reverse the damage to the person's privacy. I'm not sure that is really possible at all. More than likely, it's Pandora's box.

The answer is to have never danced with devil in the pale moonlight in the first place.

Here, just like other places, I purposefully choose identities that have conflicting data sets when you search for it. I know that I'm not 100% protected, but if they want to violate my privacy, they will have to work pretty damn hard to do it.

Re:call them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807901)

1-800-555-1212. Or 555-1212 in whatever local area code they're in, ask for the name.

bit of a tricky question with forums (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45807773)

Discussion lists traditionally don't give you a right to delete previous postings: Usenet and mailing list archives are forever. One rationale is simply technical inability (archives aren't controlled by a central authority), but there's also a sense that deleting miscellaneous posts from archives fragments the record of past conversations.

So, Nextdoor has forums and discussions. It seems fair to me that they don't retroactively delete posts from those. Therefore they need to maintain some kind of attribution to the now-deleted account. So they can't fully delete the account, in the sense of wiping any traces, but they could just make it a non-operable "deactivated" account that still has the posts attributed, but can't be used anymore. They might agree to hide the profile in this case, as well. Turns out, that is precisely what they do support [nextdoor.com] .

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807813)

So, Nextdoor has forums and discussions. It seems fair to me that they don't retroactively delete posts from those. Therefore they need to maintain some kind of attribution to the now-deleted account. So they can't fully delete the account, in the sense of wiping any traces, but they could just make it a non-operable "deactivated" account that still has the posts attributed, but can't be used anymore.

Understood.

But if the policy explicitly tells you that your additions are your property, than this argument doesn't work.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807863)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it ?
If you want that capability you should have thought about that before you created it.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807933)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it?

That's what "ownership" means. You get to control it.

If you want that capability you should have thought about that before you created it.

Without question.

But the policy at Nextdoor.com is that you own your content. If in fact you can't control aspects of access or the current state (destroy or keep), than you *don't* own it.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45807981)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it?

That's what "ownership" means. You get to control it.

Not necessarily. If you own a listed historic building then destroying or altering it is a criminal offence. There are quite a few other examples where you can own something but not legally destroy it.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#45808153)

I understand your point, except I have yet to see an Internet forum posting that has the same preservation-worthy historical qualities as, say, the Flatiron Building.

What would make more sense is for sites to have a retention policy. "We will delete posts older than five years, unless otherwise marked" or "all posts will be deleted after 365 days of inactivity of the poster's account." Really, it's almost all trash. Saving the lot of it for posterity is quite pointless.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808527)

Saving the lot of it for posterity is quite pointless.

I quite disagree. An awful lot of it is just transient communications that have no real value today other than entertainment.

What about the technical forums? I can't even begin to count how many posts from over 5 years ago led me towards solutions today. Is there a lot of noise and incorrect data? Sure. However, some sites account for that and rate the answers. Would you want to delete data that is provably valuable in some lines of research?

That's the problem. How do you determine what is a good post and what is not a good post? What has value to somebody else 10 years from now?

I'm okay with limited ownership of my posts in technical forums.

Slashdot? Well, I take measures anyways. I'm not sure that I would want to destroy it or not. I don't even know if my posts are valuable. Certainly not all. Perhaps a few.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808259)

Another example might be money. There are places where it is illegal to destroy currency.

The GP has gotten it wrong. Usually what a website means when they say that the user owns their data, is that the data is not the property of the website. That is, they cannot sell or give it away to anyone else. The user may do whatever they see fit with it, considering what they can do with the data on the site. If the site allows modification or deletion of entered data, then they might do so. But as we know, forums rarely benefit from messages being removed from threads. Should the threads also be deleted? But then user A deletes user B's data, which would violate the rules. And if you only remove some messages, it destroys the collective work in the thread. Even if you allow deletion of some messages, what happens when someone is quoted?

Most forums I have seen simply allows the account to be disabled so that one can follow what a user has written but no longer visit the profile page of that user. This seems to be what the website in question allows according to other fellow slashdotters and is quite reasonable. Anything else opens up another problem that we cannot solve.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#45808101)

So log in and edit every single post to a blank screen and rid yourself of that content.

Or maybe the word own is more of a "you are legally responsible for it" than a "you are legally entitled to it".

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 4 months ago | (#45808171)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it?

That's what "ownership" means. You get to control it.

If you want that capability you should have thought about that before you created it.

Without question.

But the policy at Nextdoor.com is that you own your content. If in fact you can't control aspects of access or the current state (destroy or keep), than you *don't* own it.

What does that mean for your posts here? "Comments owned by the poster." Yet you can't edit or delete posts.

Seems Subby is the type who doesn't learn from mistakes. In trying to remove "owned" content from one site, you just get more content created with the same issues on a different site.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#45808281)

> What does that mean for your posts here? "Comments owned by the poster." Yet
> you can't edit or delete posts.

You own them, so you can stick them in a book and sell them, post them on other sites etc. Because they are yours, to do with as you will. But you can't stop Slashdot from hosting them, compiling a 'best of' etc.

Re: bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

jasonlttl (3472993) | about 4 months ago | (#45808309)

You own the copyright, which governs creation of copies and not destruction of legitimate copies. These companies all have clauses in their terms that say you own the content and grant them a perpetual license to it.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 months ago | (#45808607)

You retain all ownership rights to the text, photos, video and other content you submit to Nextdoor.com (collectively, your “Content”). We can publish your Content in your neighborhood website or to nearby neighborhoods as described in our privacy policy.

This is part of the Member Agreement that you accept when you sign up. While I couldn't find anything more precise, the second sentence sure sounds like Nextdoor is giving themselves a license to using your content, which is what a lot of sites like this do. You get to keep your content (it's yours, you can do whatever the hell you want with it, etc.), but they grant themselves an unlimited, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use it, which you agree to by posting the content there in the first place. Their user friendly-written license makes it harder to know for sure whether this can be considered as granting a license though (and IANAL).

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2)

pepty (1976012) | about 4 months ago | (#45808653)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it?

That's what "ownership" means. You get to control it.

You can own a copy of a book and not have the right to destroy other copies. You can own the copyright to a book and not have the right to destroy other people's copies of it. I can't find anything on Nextdoor.com that describes exactly what rights come with "owning your content", but I doubt they only gave themselves rights to it that are subject to the users' approval.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807941)

How does being the owner of something entitle you to someone else being required to provide the means to destroy it?

I do not require they do it. They can give me admin access to their database, and I'll do it myself.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808007)

They can give me admin access to their database,

That also falls under "providing the means".

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808199)

As an Anon Cunt, your view is "not withstanding".

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807867)

> But if the policy explicitly tells you that your additions are your property, than this argument doesn't work.

Sure it does.

"You agree that by submitting content to our service, you are granting a non-revokable, perpetual license to said content."

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807887)

Sure it does.

"You agree that by submitting content to our service, you are granting a non-revokable, perpetual license to said content."

In which case you don't own it.

In the case of nextdoor.com, their privacy policy makes it clear that the user owns all of their data

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (3, Insightful)

psmears (629712) | about 4 months ago | (#45808059)

Sure it does.

"You agree that by submitting content to our service, you are granting a non-revokable, perpetual license to said content."

In which case you don't own it.

I'm not sure that follows. It's quite possible to own some land, but for someone else to have (say) a right of way over it - either that you've granted yourself, or that has arisen some other way. Such a right of way doesn't stop you using the land agriculturally, building on it, selling it, granting rights over it to other people, or forbidding third parties to use the land. You don't, however, have the power to revoke the right of way.

In such a situation, you are still the owner of the land, legally and in an everyday sense. Some people would argue that the situation with data is the same - you may remain the owner, but someone else can still have rights over it.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 4 months ago | (#45808593)

In which case you don't own it.

ownership = legal authority over
licensing under contract = providing legal authority to others (within scope of contract)

It's pretty standard stuff really.

When you sign up for sites, you are entering into a licensing agreement, which allows you to retain ownership of the content you post but also requires your permission to retain and use content. Note that websites aren't required to do that and some may transfer intellectual property ownership rights to the host in which case you are not legally permitted to reuse the content you post for other purposes. I know it is uncommon but people really should read the entirety of license agreements they agree to, particularly if you are posting something of value personally (such as family photos or commercial designs).

A real world example might be a photographer signing an agreement with a client, in which the client is given permission to use photos for personal or commercial purposes (commercial typically being significantly more expensive) and the client authorises the photographer to use their personal image for promotional purposes. The photographer usually retains the intellectual property rights to the photos they take, but they can't lawfully require the client to destroy all copies of the photos they have purchased. There's no financial transaction in most website signups but the contractual principles are the same. If you agree to it then you are bound by it (unless modified by agreement of both parties or overturned by legal proceedings).

High stakes agreements are almost always negotiated (sometimes involving protracted bickering back and forth) but most consumers don't take advantage of this basic right to negotiation. Standard (or "boilerplate") contracts are often put in front of consumers on a "take it or leave it" basis and there is nothing wrong with companies doing that, but there are often cases where if there is a clause that you want changed in your favor the vendor would be fine with the change but banks on the ingorance of the masses to get the most benefit for himself. Ultimately if a consumer felt he wasn't getting his moneysworth he wouldn't buy the product/service. Except regarding payments, quite often even if one party violates a contract no further action is taken because the legal action is perceived to be not worth the headache. It is unfortunate that it is often the case that a corporation with a large base of low value individual customers under contract will violate their minimum service requirements (even under consumer law) because they know most of their customers don't have the ability or resolve for legal recourse.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807871)

Understood.

But if the policy explicitly tells you that your additions are your property, than this argument doesn't work.

Uh, let's see. I write a book to which I own copyright. I then give away copies of the book to a million people. Then, I change my mind, I don't really want those people to see what is in my book any more. Do I have the right to demand that they all destroy the book?

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807909)

Uh, let's see. I write a book to which I own copyright. I then give away copies of the book to a million people.

Your scenario is unrelated to the situation the OP describes. This situation does not describe the dissemination of multiple copies of a work. The "owner" does not have to track down this copy or that, it's all in a database maintained by Nextdoor.com.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about 4 months ago | (#45808621)

That's irrelevant, even if the owner had only sold one copy of his book, he would still not be able to demand it back.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 4 months ago | (#45808043)

You do if it's in electronic format. Then you get the benefit of the DMCA :)

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808047)

You do have the right to stop them copying it.

Remember, the forum transmits a fresh copy every time someone requests the page; they get a newly printed book, not one of the old ones you gave away.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2)

calzones (890942) | about 4 months ago | (#45807897)

Many discussion forums I've been a part of allow deleting your own posts. Some even allow editing. That they don't give you a mechanism to blindly mass-delete posts wouldn't change your ownership rights over them.

For that matter, "ownership" rights may simply mean that you retain copyright over the posts. This doesn't mean you get to somehow magically make them all vanish on a whim -- no more than an author can go out and change or magically vanish copies of books already in other people's possession.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807907)

But by taking part, you give them permission to publish your additions and it doesn't look like that's revokable.

Their privacy policy does explicitly say you can ask to have an account deleted (other times they say deactivated) although they may choose to retain some items as part of conversations.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#45807939)

George Lucas was (at least until recently) the owner of the Star Wars Christmas Special. That doesn't give him the right to destroy all tapes made of it in the world. (Much as he wanted to - rumor has it he bought up and destroyed a great many copies before the digital age made it pointless)

Ownership isn't the right to "unpublish".

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#45808315)

Websites "publish" when they broadcast html. Ownership of copyright means you should be able to stop publishing new html, which is what this guy asks.

Licenses already granted (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45808635)

The contract probably grants the site a license to display the user's posts publicly in perpetuity. Ownership of copyright doesn't mean you have to be able to revoke licenses already granted. For example, once I click Submit, I grant a license to Rob^W Ando^W VA^W Sour^W Geekn^W Dice that I can't revoke.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 4 months ago | (#45808115)

Saying they're your property most likely just means that you retain copyright. In order to store, backup, and display the messages you must have granted some license to the site. Otherwise you could just issue dmca takedown requests for all your posts.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 4 months ago | (#45808305)

I haven't read the agreement but it probably gives them the right to use the information that remains your property forever.

If you've given someone the right to use a piece of your information forever, why would they let you delete it?

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

khasim (1285) | about 4 months ago | (#45807865)

Not exactly. From that link:

If you later decide that you would like to reactivate your account, you can do so at any time by signing in to Nextdoor using the same email address and password as before, and then clicking Reactivate.

So everything is still there.

Why not kill the account completely except for the past posts? And put the username and email address into a do-not-allow list so that a future user won't be able to take it over.

The reason is that they want to be able to sell your information.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

chill (34294) | about 4 months ago | (#45807903)

Data Modification/Deletion. You can delete your account by contacting us. Alternatively, you can delete most types of individual Content items. Deleting your account will delete all Content you provided, except that we may choose to retain Content incorporated into the neighborhood's conversations (and, as applicable, nearby neighborhoods); and we may attribute that Content to your name even after you depart. If we allow you to change neighborhoods on our site, we may retain your conversation contributions in your old neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods (and keep the attribution to your name) but allow you to move your profile to your new neighborhood. If you are the subject of an unauthorized profile, please contact us.

I can see where discussion sites don't allow for deletion as it is a royal PITA to maintain site integrity, threads, etc. if a user disappears.

Take Slashdot for example...

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

khasim (1285) | about 4 months ago | (#45807955)

I can see where discussion sites don't allow for deletion as it is a royal PITA to maintain site integrity, threads, etc. if a user disappears.

It should be easy. Since all the posts should be in a database, just replace the content with something like --self-deleted-- and keep everything else the same.

For anyone quoting it from before it was deleted I'd say "fair use" if they're in the USofA.

Take your account:
chill (34294)
Leave the user number the same (34294) and just --self-deleted-- the user name (chill) and anything you've listed in your profile.

And your post (#45807903) would also show --self-deleted-- but it would still show and my reply would still show in this thread.

And just make sure that no one else can ever use "chill" as a username or the email address you've used. That's just a different list.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (2)

chill (34294) | about 4 months ago | (#45808057)

Yes.

An interesting post is here [tutsplus.com] on how to create a forum from scratch. The use of foreign keys to control this sort of referential deletion is part of the article. A pretty good primer, actually.

Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 4 months ago | (#45808209)

Usenet and mailing list archives are forever

This isn't necessarily true. I worked at a place where the CEO came across some archived mailing-list posts that contained sensitive company information (apparently the previous sysadmin didn't have much regard for keeping sensitive company information secret when he had questions). An email or two asking them nicely to remove the content and it was gone. Granted, if it had been propagated to many other archive sites, this could have been a major pain in the ass.

Just Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807779)

Move to a neighbourhood not covered by their service.

Lawyer Up (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807789)

You need to start off being more careful. Be very suspicious / paranoid about "social networks" like "nextdoor.com", they are not in it for altruistic purposes.

I am only speculating here because "IANAL" and really don't "do" social networks. But my guess is that if asking nicely doesn't work, the only real alternative is having a lawyer "ask nicely" in a letter.

In the United States, there will *never* be legislation that gives "users" the kind of rights you are asking for. The only thing these people will understand is the threat of legal action. And even then, if it interferes with their business plan in a significant way, expect to have to go the "class action" route, which few of us can afford to pursue.

In short, "your fucked", have better sense next time to NOT sign up for such silliness.

Re: Lawyer Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807913)

Very true, because God forbid that in the land of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" that we actually have laws and policies that the people want.

But go on and keep proudly flying your American flags everybody. Just don't forget to remove the "made in China" tag first...

Already solved (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 months ago | (#45807931)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive [wikipedia.org]

The data subject has the right to be informed when his personal data is being processed. The controller must provide his name and address, the purpose of processing, the recipients of the data and all other information required to ensure the processing is fair. (art. 10 and 11)

Data may be processed only under the following circumstances (art. 7):

        when the data subject has given his consent
        when the processing is necessary for the performance of or the entering into a contract
        when processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation
        when processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject
        processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller or in a third party to whom the data are disclosed
        processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where such interests are overridden by the interests for fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject. The data subject has the right to access all data processed about him. The data subject even has the right to demand the rectification, deletion or blocking of data that is incomplete, inaccurate or isn't being processed in compliance with the data protection rules. (art. 12)

You can write a letter to any EU-based company requesting the deletion of your data and they are obliged to comply. Non-EU based companies are required to store person-related data in the EU, and thus are in the same situation. The data is not owned by the company.

But also see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23044809 [bbc.co.uk] (a court ruling) and http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/02/in-europe-a-right-to-be-forgotten-trumps-the-memory-of-the-internet/70643/ [theatlantic.com] (comparison US/Europe)

Re:Already solved (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45808019)

Non-EU based companies are required to store person-related data in the EU, and thus are in the same situation.

only if they want to be registered under the data protection act. They may do so in order to be able to process data on behalf of an organisation that is, for example a US based company wishing to process a payroll for an EU based company would have to do so. This does not apply to no EU companies that you might just decide to register with and use across the internet though.

Re:Already solved (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about 4 months ago | (#45808131)

Interesting cherry picking of the bits that you want to apply, shame you forgot to highlight the conditions that allow you to make the demand.

data that is incomplete, inaccurate or isn't being processed in compliance with the data protection rules

Re:Already solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808287)

See the first four "whens".

Facebook will not delete your account, only "hide" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807797)

Even if you "delete" it, they keep it on file and send you periodic e-mails asking you to reactivate it. If you do, all of your content is still there and any updates that happened via friends, etc. still were on your timeline. Basically, their "delete" just makes the profile partially invisible.

I expect Gmail/G+ is the same thing but never tested it. Maybe someone else can comment.

Security Breaches (2)

PktLoss (647983) | about 4 months ago | (#45807811)

I'm often interested in deleting accounts I don't use to avoid handing over my data to attackers when their systems are breached. The more sites I've given my data to, the more likely some random attack that grabs a DB dump is to have a copy of my Name, Email, (hashed)? password, etc. Depending on the type of site it may even get some bonus data in the form of answers to security questions.

This sounds lame, but the amount of spam currently directed at the accounts I used on: the motley fool, eharmony, Adobe, is quite high. Just putting my name at the top makes it that much more likely I'll be scammed by some phishing email.

Do what you can (5, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45807821)

Change all your details in the account settings, name, address, email etc.

Then, deactivate the account like they tell you in their help on their site.

http://help.nextdoor.com/customer/portal/articles/805273-deactivating-your-account [nextdoor.com]

That's about it. Not even Slashdot will erase your old posts when you decide to quit here, nobody does that, it would ruin all the past conversations.

Re:Do what you can (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45807829)

Sorry forgot to post another line:

"If you'd like to deactivate your account altogether, you can do so through Account Settings. (Note: If you do not see the link to deactivate on this page, contact Support.)"

Re:Do what you can (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807855)

If you'd like to deactivate your account altogether ...

And there's the point:
The policy says he owns the data.

Deactivation is different than deletion. If you own the data, you should be able to do what you want with it, right?

Otherwise a site should not imply of they that the user "owns" the data.

Re:Do what you can (2)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 4 months ago | (#45808139)

It doesn't imply anything. It's very clear.

From Nextdoor Member Agreement [nextdoor.com] :

Content. You retain all ownership rights to the text, photos, video and other content you submit to Nextdoor.com (collectively, your “Content”). We can publish your Content in your neighborhood website or to nearby neighborhoods as described in our privacy policy [nextdoor.com] .

From Nextdoor Privacy Policy [nextdoor.com] :

In some cases, we may limit your ability to edit or remove Content from Nextdoor.com.

Re:Do what you can (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 4 months ago | (#45808345)

If you own the data, you should be able to do what you want with it, right?

Sure, you can sell copies to other people, too. You've already sold a copy to them.

Re:Do what you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807993)

How about replacing all text data with fake text [lipsum.com] from a generator?
They'll either think you're Cicero or realize the data isn't accurate.

Re:Do what you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808015)

Haha. Good one! He you "It would ruin all the past conversations." As if anybody but search engines ever read past conversations here. Too hilarious! :-)

You should consider a career in comedy! :D

Re:Do what you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808085)

. Not even Slashdot will erase your old posts when you decide to quit here, nobody does that, it would ruin all the past conversations.

Nobody?

Try the WELL, it does allow you to delete your posts, in the form of replacing the text with gibberish.

Also try Reddit, you could mass-delete all your posts too, though you'd want to engage in some scribbling as well, to prevent recovery.

Re:Do what you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808353)

Not even Slashdot will erase your old posts when you decide to quit here, nobody does that, it would ruin all the past conversations.

Facebook - at least used to - delete old posts.

One of my friends was ridiculous and "quit" Facebook for Google Plus. Naturally, he's since come back, but now I have a number of old pictures where it looks like I'm talking to myself, as his comments were removed.

Granted, I'm sure the comments are still on the portable 3TB drive Chucklezuck keeps hidden sideways up his rectum, and certainly in a random NSA datacenter. But as far as the general public is concerned, at least, those comments do not exist.

Regulations are needed (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 4 months ago | (#45807837)

This is not at all uncommon, unfortunately. Even sites that let you delete your account, complete with a warning about not being able to recover it later, rarely actually delete it (and often have no issue reactivating it later). The problem is that it's basically up to each site to determine how they store user data, through ToS and EULA's that haven't exactly been found to be legally binding or enforceable. There's also no basic expectation for consumers as a result of the lack of such regulations.

You're only real option is to try and contact whoever owns the site directly, possibly by having your lawyer send a formal request to delete your account (you could probably handle it yourself with some research) and go from there. Companies tend to take notice when lawyers get involved.

Lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807839)

This is easy.
Start changing details of your identity on the site. Change your surname (the option should be there because of marriage) and as much other stuff as possible.
Soon, the profile will be a total lie and you can safely forget about it.

Will Slashdot do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807861)

Why isn't it possible to delete a Slashdot account, and have all your old posts become Anonymous?

seriously.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808011)

keep displaying the posts all you want, i just want my name off my slashdot account.

fuck slashdot.

Violate the TOS (4, Informative)

crmanriq (63162) | about 4 months ago | (#45807873)

Well. As a last resort.
1) Change all of your user data that you can. Edit your profile so that all of the data is either blank, or not yours at all.
2) Edit your age down to below 13 years old. This may kick in automatic account privacy settings.
3) If none of this works, then look at the TOS and find things that they don't want you to do. (ie, Wikipedia freaks out if you mention suing them on any forum. A TOS might make it a violation to badmouth the parent company, or to solicit other users. You might think of creating a couple of throwaway accounts, and getting into a royal flamewar with your invisible clones. Call them really bad names. Threaten to sue them.)
4) Do not let number three go into the realm of anything illegal. Don't post porn in public fora. You simply want to make yourself unwelcome at this location.

Re:Violate the TOS (0)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 4 months ago | (#45807937)

Well. As a last resort.
1) Change all of your user data that you can. Edit your profile so that all of the data is either blank, or not yours at all.
2) Edit your age down to below 13 years old. This may kick in automatic account privacy settings.
3) If none of this works, then look at the TOS and find things that they don't want you to do. (ie, Wikipedia freaks out if you mention suing them on any forum. A TOS might make it a violation to badmouth the parent company, or to solicit other users. You might think of creating a couple of throwaway accounts, and getting into a royal flamewar with your invisible clones. Call them really bad names. Threaten to sue them.)
4) Do not let number three go into the realm of anything illegal. Don't post porn in public fora. You simply want to make yourself unwelcome at this location.

This may actually be a felony. (I.e. it is arguably a violation of the computer fraud and abuse act, limiting the use of a computer to that which is authorized, IIRC).

Re:Violate the TOS (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45807997)

This may actually be a felony. (I.e. it is arguably a violation of the computer fraud and abuse act, limiting the use of a computer to that which is authorized, IIRC).

A "felony"?

Creating sock-puppet accounts and arguing with myself? It's certainly *not* a crime for me to abuse my own computer this way, and if anything at all, a "ToS" violation is nothing more than an excuse to ban my account.

It's certainly *not* a felony.

Re:Violate the TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808009)

Good luck getting that to stick.
If it goes to court, then call the media and EFF.

Re:Violate the TOS (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 4 months ago | (#45808159)

2) Edit your age down to below 13 years old. This may kick in automatic account privacy settings.

Some sites won't allow you to do that.

3) If none of this works, then look at the TOS and find things that they don't want you to do. (ie, Wikipedia freaks out if you mention suing them on any forum. A TOS might make it a violation to badmouth the parent company, or to solicit other users. You might think of creating a couple of throwaway accounts, and getting into a royal flamewar with your invisible clones. Call them really bad names. Threaten to sue them.)

All the site will do is disable the account, delete the bad posts through the normal moderation process and keep the good posts. You will be no further ahead.

Re:Violate the TOS (1)

Shag (3737) | about 4 months ago | (#45808525)

Had to do this with MySpace once - their signup process accepted email address containing a + and their deletion process didn't.

After falsifying all the profile information and adjusting the age, my account left several publicly-visible comments about "Tom" and Rupert Murdoch...

*poof*

UK : Data Protection Act (2, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 months ago | (#45807925)

In the UK, the Data Protection Act requires that they delete your data on request.

Re:UK : Data Protection Act (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45808037)

In the UK, the Data Protection Act requires that they delete your data on request.

But nextdoor.com is a US company that has no divisions or operations in the EU - so it does not apply

Re:UK : Data Protection Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808129)

In theory, yes. But since there is next to no enforcement of the DPA, good luck with that.

Re:UK : Data Protection Act (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 4 months ago | (#45808265)

There are eight tets [ico.org.uk] to pass to Since the name is the only thing displayed after an account is deactivated the posts it fails the first test

I've Got An Uncooperative Website For You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807957)

I've got an uncooperative website for you, Slashdot.org.

Slashdot keeps jamming this piece of shit Beta [slashdot.org] on me and I can't break free of it.
beta.shalsdot.org [slashdot.org] is an epic fail in the making. Slashdot is about to pull a Digg V4.

This is why you NEVER use your real name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808041)

God damn, some of you people exhibit such little
forethought in your behavior that it is amazing.

Of course, only a naive idiot even USES social
networking sites to begin with.

Ownership (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 4 months ago | (#45808071)

There are many comments about the ownership of the posts and how if the poster owned the posts he should be able to delete them. I have a different view.

From the Nextdoor Member Agreement [nextdoor.com] :

Content. You retain all ownership rights to the text, photos, video and other content you submit to Nextdoor.com (collectively, your “Content”). We can publish your Content in your neighborhood website or to nearby neighborhoods as described in our privacy policy.

Notice they say rights. The poster owns the posts in that the poster is responsible for the content and the site can not sell or copy the posts to other sites. Those are the general copyright laws. The issue comes in that by posting on the site the owner has given a copy to someone else, much like giving someone a book. The poster still owns the right to the post but not ownership of that specific copy.

This is from the Privacy Policy [nextdoor.com] :

Data Modification/Deletion. You can delete your account by contacting us. Alternatively, you can delete most types of individual Content items. Deleting your account will delete all Content you provided, except that we may choose to retain Content incorporated into the neighborhood's conversations (and, as applicable, nearby neighborhoods); and we may attribute that Content to your name even after you depart. If we allow you to change neighborhoods on our site, we may retain your conversation contributions in your old neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods (and keep the attribution to your name) but allow you to move your profile to your new neighborhood. If you are the subject of an unauthorized profile, please contact us.

It looks pretty explicit that they will retain conversations.

And a pony (1, Insightful)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 4 months ago | (#45808117)

"their privacy policy makes it clear that the user owns all of their data. If this is true, I should have the right to destroy that data. "

What is the basis for such a logical leap?

If you're going to make an overreaching claim, you might as well ask for a pony too.

Re:And a pony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808401)

Ha ha.

Do you own your body? Do you have the right to destroy it?

What does "delete" mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808387)

They might remove it from the web, but how can you ever verify they physically deleted the records without selling them first? Even then it will still be in Google cache, etc. This idea of unwriting something you have written is just silly.

Easiest fix (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#45808415)

The only way to win this game is not to play.

Don't feel you have to participate in every social media site. You really won't miss anything if you don't. People will tell you, "You have to have a social media presence to get a job" but that's just BS.

In fact, a very good skill to develop is the ability to ignore cultural phenomenon occasionally. It's almost like a superpower and it can really impact your happiness quotient. For example, I've made it to the last act of a semi-celebrity drama without knowing what a "Duck Dynasty" is, and the feeling is awesome. It takes a bit of preparation and planning, but it is possible to filter out nonsense. And make no mistake, social media is nonsense, and it's dangerous. You think you're getting something when in fact you're having something taken from you.

Re:Easiest fix (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#45808449)

Note: You might ask, "If you don't know what a "Duck Dynasty" is, then how do you know the three-act arc of it's drama has come to an end?"

The answer is that I know someone who obsessively follows all that shit. I asked her about a week back if there was anything about a "Duck Dynasty" that I need to know. She said, "Nah". Today, I got an email from her telling me the story has come to some denouement and said that my willful ignorance of the entire topic turned out to have been a wise choice. (I ask that nobody respond to these posts with attempted explanations of anything related to "Duck Dynasty". I feel it's rude to ignore replies, but dammit, I will do so if I have to.

Re:Easiest fix (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#45808455)

Please Note: You might ask, "If you don't know what a "Duck Dynasty" is, then how do you know the three-act arc of it's drama has come to an end?"

The answer is that I know someone who obsessively follows all that shit. I asked her about a week back if there was anything about a "Duck Dynasty" that I need to know. She said, "Nah". Today, I got an email from her telling me the story has come to some denouement and said that my willful ignorance of the entire topic turned out to have been a wise choice. (I ask that nobody respond to these posts with attempted explanations of anything related to "Duck Dynasty". I feel it's rude to ignore replies, but dammit, I will do so if I have to.

Hypocritical Slashdot standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808469)

How do I delete my Slashdot posts and my account again? Oh right, I can't.

Abine has a service for this (3, Informative)

Burz (138833) | about 4 months ago | (#45808481)

Its called 'DeleteMe' [abine.com] and you can check with them to see if they can help you with particular sites.

This is the same group that makes the anti-tracking browser addon 'DoNotTrackMe'.

Craigslist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808519)

Cannot be any worse than Craigslist. Not only can you not delete your account, they save the record of every post you made and it too cannot be deleted.

Can you edit your data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808553)

I've never used nextdoor.com but if you can edit your data just make it meaningless gibberish.

will not remove your data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808609)

i am sorry but he internet archive feels that it is best served by not honoring your takedown request

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...