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Zinio Ridiculous Delete Account Process

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Posted: January 13, 2024 | Categories: Miscellaneous

I created a Zinio account many years ago (many, many years ago). Online magazines was a thing then and there were a couple of magazines I was interested in that had moved to the platform. I stopped reading those magazines years ago and completely forgot about my account.

I was bored the other day and I was poking around on my tablet. I suddenly remembered my Zinio account and opened the browser to see if it was still a thing. I found it, logged in, and browsed all of my magazines (going back into the early 2000's). None of that interested me anymore and I'm not interested in reading magazines online, so I looked for the link or button to delete my account. I quickly found it and clicked it, but what happened next was just ridiculous.

A few minutes later, I received an email from them acknowledging the deletion request:

We have received delete me request for the following user Email: john@myemail.com, User ID: some_long_account_id. Please follow the legal process to confirm receipt of this request and follow the legal delete me process as required by the law. FYI this needs to be actioned by the Data Controller and Data Processor.

Legal process? What legal process? Data Controller? Data Processor? I know what those things are, but how exactly do they apply here? Zinio is the data controller, wherever they host their application platform is the data processor. I'm not involved in either.

A short while later, I received another email from them:

We acknowledge receipt of your request for deletion of personal data on 2024-01-10,and will provide you a formal response to your request as soon as commercially possible, but in any event within the time established by applicable law.
Please take note that we cannot process data privacy requests or provide any personal data if we cannot verify both the identity and authority of the individual submitting such request. In some cases, we may request proof of identity to process a request including, without limitation: (i) if you send us the request from an email address that is different than the one you are enquiring about; (ii) if you send us the request from an email address that is different from the one you use in connection with your account or relationship with us; (iii) if we store more personal data than an email address for you and such request relates to or impacts such additional personal data, or (iv) if you provide us with data that does not match the personal data in our records. We will only use personal data provided in a verifiable data privacy request to verify the requestor's identity or authority to make the request.
Please be advised that, once processed, the deletion or erasure of personal data is permanent and you will loose access to your account, including any relevant orders, purchased magazines and subscriptions. No refunds or other accommodations shall be made with respect to any loss of access or functionality to an account or any purchased products or services resulting from the processing of a data privacy request.
Best Regards
Zinio Security Team
*PLEASE NOTE: In addition to its own Newsstand and mobile applications, ZINIO serves as delivery agent for digital magazine content for over 800 publishers. In the event that you place an order for a digital magazine directly with a publisher after the completion of your personal data deletion request, this may result in a new ZINIO account being automatically created for you to facilitate delivery of such content. We encourage you to contact publishers directly to understand how their digital magazines will be delivered.
Please feel free to contact us for further assistance.
Thanks and regards,
Janet K

Holy crap, seriously? Dude, all I'm trying to do is delete an account I haven't used in almost a decade.

I logged into my Zinio account using my Zinio account credentials and followed the process to request an account deletion. Why are you emailing me about legal issues? Just do it and be done with it.

I didn't make a request for deletion of personal data, all I asked you to do is delete my account. If you want to hang onto the data after you delete the account, I truly don't care. Well, that's not true - I do care if they leak my data, but I don't care if they want to keep it around at their expense.

Nope, they weren't done yet.

Dear John,
As a follow-up to your data privacy request, we have confirmed that your request for deletion of personal data meets the requirements of applicable data protection laws. Further, please be advised that we have proceeded to complete your request and the deletion of the following personal data linked to your account: john@myemail.com.
Please note, however, that it may take up to seven (7) days for the personal data subject to your request to be removed from all affected systems.
Although the processing of your deletion request permanently removes the impacted data from the majority of the databases and records we maintain, certain portions of personal data may need to be retained for compliance and reporting purposes as required by applicable law. Take note that any personal data retained for compliance and reporting will not be used for any other purpose and will be deleted once the timeline for such retention, as proscribed by applicable law, has expired.
We invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the processing of your data privacy request and inform you may have the right to file a claim with the relevant governmental agency and/or supervisory authority if we have failed to properly respond to or otherwise process a verifiable data privacy request.
If we can help any further, please let us know.
Kind regards,
Zinio Security Team

Data privacy request? I didn't make a data privacy request.

Anyway, the account's deleted (I think) as I haven't received any emails from them in a while, but boy did they take this request way more seriously than I did. What happened here was either that very scared lawyers involved themselves in what is essentially a very simple process or some consulting firm suggested all of these additional layers of fear in order to get more billable revenue from Zinio. Either way, they were clearly duped.

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