A German company is poised to launch software allowing users to have photos uploaded to websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Flickr erased automatically after a certain time.

This software allows users of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr to delete their data, including photos, posts, comments, etc. on the internet.

Effectively the tool allows users to encrypt their photos with an electronic key. The user can then set the date on which that key expires. When those photos are uploaded and viewed online they call X-Pire's servers for the unlock code and this will only be issued if the key is still valid.

Before the user posts the photo, he or she drags it into the program which assigns it an electronic key that is valid for a limited time period, said Michael Backes, founder of X-Pire.

Internet surfers already have the power to delete photos from social networking websites like Facebook, but experience shows that they don't get round to it, Backes said.

Most Facebook users, for example, are passive users. They go on, they put on a lot of private information and almost never come back on or they forget their password, he said.

The software is not designed for people who understand how to protect their data but rather for the huge mass of people who want to solve the problem at its core and not to have to think about it anymore, added Backes.

The software will be available in a few days and, while it isn't free, it's very cheap at $2.6 per month. There are a great many job hunters out there who will thank X-Pire most heartily for their efforts.