The way web services handle account information, and allow (or disallow) account deletion, and respect their user's privacy is certainly a big part of the User Experience.

As an experiment, I'm attempting to delete several accounts I don't use. Some web services offer a "Delete account" action, but others don't, or make it very difficult. I've had to personally contact some for account deletion, and they refuse, not even allowing a username change.

One response I got is: "We do not delete accounts as data you create on this website is in ownership of website, according to our User Agreement." - You can read the user agreement for this site here: http://pastebin.com/EuWV69ik, and the Privacy Policy here: http://pastebin.com/K7VSKEAn, if you like.

If you read through the Agreements, you'll notice that they state that information is kept private from third parties, however, your profile is easily searchable in Google and other search engines, which are third parties. Moreover, every last one of the clauses is then made null by a "I acknowledge that the Company has exclusive rights to all the information and software located at the Service pages."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this a very bad malpractice? Shouldn't a User be freely allowed to remove his account and information from a service if he wanted, no matter what kind of complex agreement you've accepted? Shouldn't be this a basic "online human right"?

As a part of my experiment, I'd like to know what is the true accepted and jurisdictional aspect of this matter. Which organizations and laws prevent this kind of behaviour on online services?

  • 1
    Hi Alainus, welcome to UX.se! While your question is interesting, can you please make it explicit how is it related to UX? Thanks.
    – rk.
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 16:17
  • 1
    Hi rk, I added a small paragraph explaining that the Users privacy and handling of personal information is a field of UX. Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 16:25
  • Not only is this more of a legal/moral question than a UX one, the answer would depend on the region.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 16:48
  • "All aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.", and the question doesn't ask for opinions or moral positions, it asks for relevant objective information. Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


The right to be forgotten doesn't exist anywhere atm. In fact in many regions companies are obliged to keep records of their interactions and this would not be personal data. Legal protections mainly guard only personal information and your right to correct it. If this information was publically searchable by your consent then it a good hint that it probably would never be classed as personal.

For other data there is no 'malpractice' When they have clearly stated that you are transfering your rights over material to them and you have accepted that agreement by submitting the info.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.