I had to smile when I read this article on the BBC news website. It seems a computer science student was having a little trouble with MySpace
Kris Athi wrote to the BBC after trying since early December to delete his MySpace account. “As I am graduating in the summer,” he explained, “I decided to it was time to grow up and remove any job-threatening information from the internet.”
His profile does not look that job-threatening – just the normal collection of mildly embarrassing photos and obscure messages from fellow students. It does reveal that Kris is studying computer science and wants to develop video games or be an astronaut “when I grow up”.
Kris explained that he had performed the “cancel account” procedure, and confirmed time and again that he did want to delete his account. But to complete the process you then need to reply to a confirmation e-mail from MySpace. That e-mail has never arrived.
“I tried to receive this e-mail about fifty times over three weeks,” Kris said. “As I am studying computer science I like to think I am quite “tech savvy” and understand where to look for such an e-mail should it be sent.
Well it appears that poor old Kris isn’t as “tech savvy” as he would like to think. Firstly it sounds like the confirmation email was being caught by a spam filter, either his ISP or his email provider and besides as MySpace point out you can make your page private so no-one can see it anyway. In Kris’ defense he does claim on his blog to have checked his junk mail, so it does appear to be his ISP at fault.
In a statement MySpace told us, “Kris had no need to cancel his account, he could simply have set his profile to private so no one would have been able to view it without his approval.”
The company went on to explain why Kris may have found it difficult to get hold of the cancellation e-mail. “In some cases e-mails confirming cancellation will be sent to “junk mail” by e-mail providers. E-mails from MySpace can sometimes be blocked entirely because the ISPs block e-mails based on volume.”
But Kris is not impressed: “I think removing your personal information from a site should be less of a pain and performed much more quickly.”
Out of interest I tried to delete my MySpace account and what do you know, about three clicks and I received the email message asking for confirmation!
I am sure Kris would have been complaining had someone managed to delete his account because they didn’t have to confirm their identity. A lot of websites won’t delete or allow changes to information without using email as an identity confirmation that is why most stress the importance of making sure spam filters and blockers aren’t blocking such emails.
Oh and for good measure the BBC then throw in the old scare story about you leaving information scattered all over the information super highway.
We asked a private detective Richard Martinez to have a quick scour of the internet to see what traces Kris had left behind. There was nothing particularly damaging but enough to provide a potential employer – or a fraudster – with lots of information.
What is the betting Mr Martinez just entered Kris Athi in a google search
and stumbled across his website http://www.krisathi.co.uk/ including his CV his blog http://www.klog.co.uk/ and numerous other posts on various websites he has made.
See him demonstrate his 3l33t skills on this BBC Video
Will be interesting to see what future employers make of his 15 seconds of internet fame, just waiting to see what Slashdot and Digg will make of it.
Oh and perhaps they shouldn’t have taken a screen shot.
Since when has University Challenge had specialised subjects? Don’t you mean Mastermind?
Update If it was so difficult to delete your MySpace account then the forthcoming “International Delete Your Myspace Account Day” on January 30th would be a bit of a failure.