AFP – Three young Israelis, who served in military cyber units, can locate your fingerprint and give you the means to remove it.
Mine, co-founded by Gal Ringel, Gal Golan and Kobi Nissan, says it uses artificial intelligence to help users find where their information is stored, such as when an online shoe store retains your data following a purchase of sneakers three years ago.
Ringel says Mine’s technology has already been used by one million people around the world, and more than 10 million “right to be forgotten” requests have been sent to companies using their platform.
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“Mine” was launched after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which has established itself as an international reference – defined the main rights of users, including the right to delete data information shared with a site for limited purposes.
The company’s AI technology scans the subject line of users’ emails and reports where their data is stored.
Users can then decide which information they wish to be deleted and use the email template made available to them by Mine to implement their right to be forgotten.
This means that they can remove their digital footprint “with one click”, says Ringel.
“We don’t tell people not to use Facebook or Google. We tell them: go ahead, enjoy it, use whatever you want. But since you love using the internet, we’re going to show you what others know about you… what the risk is and how to eliminate it,” he concludes.
Last year, hackers broke into the database of Atraf, an Israeli LGBTQ dating site, using personal information for blackmail. The previous year, Shirbit, a large insurance company, had been hacked and data stolen.
Despite these and other smaller violations, Naama Matarasso Karpel of the advocacy group “Privacy Israel” explains that the population is ultimately quite indifferent.
She goes on to criticize Israel’s privacy laws, which she considers unsuited to the challenges of today’s online activity.
“Privacy is a bit like health or air: we don’t really feel the need for it until we really see how much we lack it,” she says.
She says that although public awareness of the right to privacy has been slow to take hold, many companies have found that better privacy practices benefit their business.
“Nobody wants to be caught off guard,” says Matarasso Karpel.
Companies are beginning to see privacy “as a value that can build trust with their customers,” she adds.
Mine co-founder Ringel says companies have reached out to him for help with the “difficult and tedious” process of locating and deleting information under the right to be forgotten.
“We help companies automate this process without any human intervention,” he says, minimizing the workload and costs.
Lawyer Omer Tene, co-founder of the Israel Tech Policy Institute, warns that suppressing specific individual requests is “a complicated technical exercise.”
By law, some companies and organizations do not have the ability to delete information relating to blockchain technologies or records of financial exchanges, kept for tax purposes.
In addition, information subject to deletion is often kept with varying degrees of identification, Tene explains.
“All of these differences make it difficult to deliver on the promise to consumers and businesses alike to delete everything at the push of a button,” Tene concludes.
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Right to be forgotten: Israeli company says it can erase the digital past
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