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Security & privacy

Hundreds of companies could have your data – here’s how to find and delete it

How much data have you shared online over the years? Have you even kept track? Websites and services come and go, and we don’t always keep up with deleting old accounts or checking the terms and conditions to see where our private info goes.

Sometimes, our data is collected and sold to companies that don’t care about protecting it. Tap or click here to see how a data breach revealed what Walmart, ICE and Best Buy have been up to with your personal info.

If businesses are exploring tracking your face when you visit their stores, how much further are they willing to go with your online data? If you want to block out the snoops and regain control of your digital information, there’s a new way to do it.

Control your online data

Ever hear the phrase, “Fight fire with fire?” The UK-based privacy company Mine certainly did. This company fights the sale and distribution of your online data to third parties. Its website searches for, finds and helps you control where your private info goes.

Mine maps companies you’ve interacted with through your email and reveals the type of information they collect about you. The data is then categorized by industry and revealed to you in an easy-to-read chart.

RELATED: Delete these data-collecting apps from your iOS or Android device

Once everything is collected, you can use Mine’s quick actions feature to choose which companies you don’t want to share with. You’ll be surprised how many have their hands on your info.

Think about all the companies and services you’ve used in the past but don’t anymore. Even if you don’t visit those sites anymore, they still have your data. And erasing it may be as simple as submitting a request with Mine.

How does it work?

Mine connects to your email account and requires basic personal info. It searches your account for all the websites you’ve interacted with based on subject lines and metadata. Mine does not collect any other information from your emails.

Skeptical? Good, we’ve taught you well. How can you be sure Mine isn’t like all those other sites that collect your data to sell and make a profit? After all, the service is currently free. And free isn’t always reliable. Tap or click here to see how the free antivirus program is selling your data.

By agreeing to the terms and conditions, you’re taking the company’s word for it. On its website, Mine promises not to collect unnecessary information from you and says it only shares your info with third parties to provide you with the list of sites and to help you reclaim your data.

If you’re still not convinced, you can request a copy of the info Mine collects about you. It also underwent an external security assessment audit to prove it keeps users’ data safe. Read more about it on Mine’s privacy policy page.

Mine even includes itself on the list provided to you detailing all the companies that have your info. Once you’ve reclaimed your data from other sites, you can choose to do the same from Mine as well.

Sounds safe enough. How do I get started?

So far, Mine has analyzed 4 million online services and 180,000 reclaim requests. If you’d like to see and delete your digital footprint as well, visit saymine.com. Now is a good time to act, since Mine’s business model includes a future subscription service.

If you’re 16 or older, you can visit saymine.com and click the purple “Get started” button. Follow the onscreen prompts and you’ll receive a breakdown of the companies that have access to your data. Then simply use the quick actions to clean up your digital footprint.

These days, just about every site online collects your data. Short of going through each one individually, you next best bet is using a site like Mine to speed up the process.

You can reclaim your “right-to-be-forgotten” and permanently delete the data each company has from their databases. Manage the data you’ll let other companies use and keep an eye on which companies know what about you.

Concerned about your online presence, tap or click here for 7 digital privacy tricks you wish you knew before now.

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