VPN provider (opens in new tab) Surfshark (opens in new tab) has a separate privacy service known as Incogni (opens in new tab). This Is a subscription based service, designed for individuals to be able to get their data from a data broker’s service. This would be overly time consuming for an individual to perform manually, as there are hundreds of databases. Not only do you need to get the data out, but the next challenge is to keep it out, and Incogni will continue to sweep these many databases, searching for your name and personal info, and removing it, thereby keeping the info out of these databases.
Incogni has its goal to get back control of your data privacy (opens in new tab), as folks end up with multiple pieces of their information in these databases. Data brokers continuously collect data on individuals, from a wide variety of sources, including scouring the internet including social media (opens in new tab). Another source is the public sources, such as public databases such as property records to gain names with addresses, or alumni databases to find graduates of a certain school.
Previous addresses of individuals are also of interest, so that they can compile a history of last addresses. They also try to identify relationships between individuals, such as spouses, parents, children and siblings. Finally, phone numbers, including landline and cell phone numbers are obtained from physical phone books, and online phone databases.
Once all of this data gets compiled, a profile gets built on the individual that can include a comprehensive amount of data. The online data brokers, then want to sell this information. Some of it can certainly be legitimate, such as for credit checks, but unfortunately this also puts the data at risk for nefarious purposes such as hackers, cybercriminals.
There is also concern that even more data is tracked, such as political leanings, or weekend activities gets tracked into a “Shadow profile,” that can then be used to influence behavior. Most of these online databases, in the tiny print at the bottom, do allow for an opt out process, but it is rarely that simple, and the reality is that there are way too many of them to find them all.
This is where Incogni’s service comes in. This company has an exhaustive list of the data broker databases, and they state that they can save an individual the hundreds of hours of work to get your information out of them. Incogni provides a ‘Data removal tool,’ designed to be user friendly, to get your data back to where it belongs- private.
To delve in deeper, Icogni uses tools such as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), and also the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is an EU law also from 2018, along with other privacy laws that apply to the location in question.
Incogni indicates that on the first day that a person joins the service, the requests to remove the data get sent out, that within a week there are responses, and then in the first month, that most of these data removal requests have been processed. From there, they then ‘Circle back,’ and follow up with the requests that were not executed, to make sure that the data gets taken down. Furthermore, and subsequently, they follow up to keep data off. Finally, users get weekly updates on the progress.
Unlike some other services that have multiple tiers of plans to choose from, Incogni takes it in the other direction toward simplification. Here, we have just one plan to choose from, making it a really easy choice.
Among that single plan, the only real choice is whether to pay monthly or annually. The plan is limited to US, UK, EU, Swiss and Canadian residents only. The payments are encrypted and secure, and there is no long term commitment, with no long term subscription, and a 30-day money back guarantee.
The month to month plan has a cost of $12.99, which gets paid each month. The other option is the annual plan, which gets paid a year at a time, at an oddball amount cost of $77.88, which works out to a more numerically sensible $6.49/month, for a substantial savings of 50% on each month of the service for committing to a year at a time.
We did not find an offer for a free trial which is a shortcoming.
Incogni does offer both direct and self-help support options, however, we would like to see more of both. Overall, it is too thin for our taste.
On the direct side of things, we did not locate a phone number, fax, email, snail mail address or chat box. Rather, there is but a single option for direct communication, a support portal. It does at least allow the user to include a file with the issue, which is useful for markup to explain an issue further.
For the indirect side of things, we would like to see it more rounded out as well. There is a searchable knowledge center, and while it does include a FAQ, this last part only had answers to but seven questions, which is kind of thin. Aside from this, there really is nothing else, and we did not find a blog, webinars, video content, e-papers, ebooks, whitepapers, or a community forum.
Incogni: Final verdict
Incogni offers a compelling service for users to take back their privacy. We value the annual discount, the weekly updates, the money back guarantee for 30-days, and that this can save a user hundreds of hours of work. Some areas for improvement would be a free trial, and more options to get support. Overall, for those that value their data privacy, Incogni is worth examining further.
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