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This Simple Tool Will Help You See What Websites Know About You

In recent events with WhatsApp changing its terms and conditions, it’s only natural to think about what certain websites know about us. What if there was a simple tool to help us find out?

In this modern world where the internet thrives one might wonder what exactly Big Tech knows about us. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and alike, are platforms that emphatically record our action and it’s all stored on the web.

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In fact, if you think about it logically, why should this even be a blip on our radars? life is complicated enough and now we need to waste time and energy worrying about our data being used and stored as well.

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Finding out what they know can be tricky. But as a matter of fact, there is a simple tool that goes by the name of JustGetMyData. It’s a website that allows you to download a copy of your personal data recorded by said sites.

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How this Simple Tool Works

This simple tool is pretty straight forward to use and understand.

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Their website states; “Many companies use dark pattern techniques to make it difficult to find how to obtain your data. JustGetMyData aims to be a directory of URLs to enable you to easily obtain your data from web services.

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When you reach the home page of JustGetMyData you’ll see all the websites listed alphabetically as well as explicitly color-coded. The colors range according to the level of difficulty in retrieving your data from specific sites. The colors go from green being the easiest to retrieve to black representing a pretty much impossible chance.

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All sites that fall in the green are, among others, Telegram. Linkdin, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Meanwhile, red is the difficult sector and it includes websites like Microsoft and Twitch. 

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Surprisingly, Tinder falls under the green color code while Wikipedia is black – meaning you’ll never get your data off there. Websites that fall in the yellow range include Netflix, Steam and Amazon.

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A screenshot from the website JustGetMyData showing the difficulty in obtaining your data from visited websites

Hyperlinks are provided which direct you to each site accordingly, not to mention exact instructions on how to retrieve your data.

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As mentioned on the JustGetMyData site; “Not all personal data processed by Microsoft can be accessed or controlled using the tools above. If you want to access or control personal data processed by Microsoft, that the above tools are not available or directly through the Microsoft products you use, you can always contact Microsoft at the address in the section: How to contact us or use our web form.”[1]

Similar Sites

The sister site of JustGetMyData is called JustDeleteMe.  Albeit you make that decision to leave social media, sometimes we need a little assistance with eradicating ourselves from sites similar to Instagram.

Stated on their website they say; “When you are on a website that is listed on JustDeleteMe, the Chrome Extension will add a small dot to the omnibar. Clicking on this dot will take you to the relevant delete page.”

JustDeleteMe has a color code system showing sites are ordered alphabetically and color coded to signal how difficult the retrieval process will be

Ultimately, it’s because they don’t want you to go as they rely on a large number of subscribers. Sites like Amazon make it possible to return items for various reasons with a click of various buttons but deleting your account is another ball game entirely. Nevertheless, this is what JustDeleteMe is there for – their very name is their purpose.[2]

Collecting a copy of one’s personal data is just as much a predicament hence the creation of JustGetMyData. Remember it is always a good idea to get your data from Big Tech before you delete your accounts once and for all.

In Conclusion

If you are anything like me, you worry about what the websites you visit know about you, how much they know, and what their reason for knowing is.

If you reside within the European Union collecting your data has been made much easier to retrieve since the passing General Data Protection Regulation which is something the rest of the world should look into. But for now, at least we have this simple tool, JustGetMyData.

Sources

  1. JustGetMyData
  2. JustDeleteMe
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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