Stuart's Blog

When Data Deletion is Not Data Deletion

I am currently cleaning up a lot of my online accounts. Most of the general population would probably think I'm mad for going to the effort to get my data deleted from the net, but I've had to mop up after enough data breaches in my time to build some pretty good habits around my data.

Incidentally, YourDigitalRights offers an excellent service for generating data deletion requests - they create a template message based on the information you enter which you can then send from your own email account.

One of the companies I'm going through the deletion process with right now is TfL (Transport for London). And as with many of these requests I wonder how much actual deletion goes on.

This message from TfL proves that not everything is deleted, because if it was then this wouldn't be an issue:

We have also found that you have either an active Oyster card with a credit balance and/or a Contactless payment card attached to your account. To proceed with the deletion of your web account we will need you to first remove any Oyster or contactless payment cards attached to it. If cards are still attached to a web account when your personal details are removed it means that they cannot be added to a new account again in the future.

Hol' up! If you've deleted all of my information, how do you know that card was ever used on an account?

The process to detach them from my account was simple, but it leaves me wondering just how 'deleted' any of my data will be.


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