Is Incogni worth it?
Last August, I signed up for Incogni, a service that automates data removal requests from data brokers and marketers on your behalf. It’s owned by Surfshark, a subsidiary of Nord Security, the owner of NordVPN.
For 69.48 Euros (annually), they promise that they’ll make data brokers remove your data so that it “stays secure and private”. But is it worth it?
In theory, as soon as you sign up, they send requests to all of the data brokers they have on file. Brokers then have one calendar month (GDPR) or 45 days (CCPA) to comply.
Brokers acting in bad faith could argue that the request is complex, which buys them two more calendar months. But after three months, you should definitely have confirmation that your data has been removed from their systems (or was never on it in the first place).
Have a look at my dashboard below:
After nearly four months, the completion rate is 36%. The rest of the requests are still “In Progress”.
I don’t think this completion rate is a success. Do I have confidence that Incogni is chasing the remaining brokers? I can’t tell.
Their dashboard ought to be designed to provide more insights into the process. Clicking on a broker in the list of requests does not pull up any details about the request itself but rather a general description of their business and Incogni’s assessment of the sensitivity of the data they may hold.
Instead, I wish they provided a simple timeline with key events such as “Request Sent”, “Action Required”, “Follow Up Sent”, “Request Completed”, etc.
Last September, their support team said this was “valuable feedback” but I didn’t notice any improvements to the dashboard.
Since then, I have discovered Data Brokers Watch, a very comprehensive database (over 900 brokers!), curated by a non-profit. They also enable you to request the deletion or a copy of your data (albeit one broker at a time).
You should go through their top 10 brokers, especially if you live in the US. It will only take you a couple of minutes.
As far as Incogni is concerned, more than 69 Euros per year is likely needed to go after hundreds of brokers properly. If you are unsure about signing up, it’s all about having the right expectations and knowing that they will only send a bunch of automated emails on your behalf.
Lastly, it’s absurd that Incogni, a privacy service, uses Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. They should know better!
Update (Jan. 02, 2023): Incogni sends weekly “Progress Reports” emails. On my Dec. 31, 2022 report, the number of requests sent actually decreased from 93 a month ago to 89, which raises questions about Incogni’s accuracy.