DeleteMe Will Delete You, Online [Video]

It was not too long ago we were outraged by the advice of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to change our names, and laughing at the need to erase our digital footprints as the stuff of author dreams. Now, thanks to privacy worms, the rise of third-party cookies and targeted online ads, those thoughts have become a holy grail of digital life. And with a new tool released this week, the solution is now a reality.

It was not too long ago we were outraged by the advice of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to change our names, and laughing at the need to erase our digital footprints as the stuff of author dreams. Now, thanks to privacy worms, the rise of third-party cookies and targeted online ads, those thoughts have become a holy grail of digital life. And with a new tool released this week, the solution is now a reality.

Introducing DeleteMe, a “delete button for the Internet,” from Cambridge, MA-based online privacy company Abine. Users pay a fee ranging from $10 to $100 (depending on how complicated their request is) and, poof, the service will remove photos, blog posts, videos and search results, delete old accounts, and stop companies from selling private data to advertisers.

The launch of DeleteMe comes on the heels of a call by the Federal Trade Commission for more transparency in online advertising, including a “Do Not Call Registry” for the Internet that would give users a universal opt-out button. But that tool would not remove the personal information already online, and that’s where DeleteMe steps in.

Abine’s team essentially does the dirty work for you, navigating complicated privacy options, reading the fine print on privacy policies, knowing the rights of both companies and consumers and following up with letters, emails and faxes to unresponsive networks.

Users can choose from any of three scenarios, or levels: removing an individual item, such as a Facebook picture or blog comment; deleting your account completely, so long MySpace profile or LInkedIn account; and managing use of your info among companies and online advertisers.

The company has established set costs for common reuquests, and will price on a case-by-case basis for the more “unusual” requests. Users also get a cost quote before Abine starts the work

Despite the sci-fi scenario, Abine can’t promise that all user data can be completely wiped from the Internet, so the company does offer a money-back guarantee.