Every so often, I google myself, just to see what’s floating around on the internet about me, and today I discovered a floating turd: Spokeo.
This nasty little website creates “aggregate” profiles, gleaned from phone books public records and social network posts, and creates a partial public profile, and for about $4, you can purchase the really key information, like an exact address and phone number. As it is, it already not only shows a Google map aerial photo of your home, but also lists its worth.
None of these things are anybody’s business but mine! I pay extra to have unlisted phone numbers, and anyone I want to know my address, phone number or email already does.
Beyond simply violating my privacy — and yours, and your children’s — this company is making a profit from this private information.
“All legal” they say. Really. Is it any different than stealing someone’s artwork or writing, and profiting from it? You can’t make thousands of copies of someone’s award-winning photo and sell it. Not legally anyway. Maybe we should be allowed to copyright our addresses, phone numbers and private information, so that others can’t profit from it.
I wonder how many lives have been damaged because private information was available for a pittance? How many women who have escaped domestic violence and relocated, only to be found and beaten or murdered by raging ex-husbands or boyfriends? How many people who have covered their track to keep themselves or their children safe, only to have those tracks exposed? How many people just simply don’t WANT their personal information available anywhere? Like me.
I poked around Spokeo, and discovered that there is a place to “opt out.” However, after following the directions, it claimed that the URL I entered — copied and pasted from their own website — didn’t exist.
It did exist, I just looked at it and found a picture of my home, along with offers to get all sorts of information about me AND my relatives.
This is CRIMINAL. You should not be able to make a profit from something you don’t own. It’s called STEALING. And the people behind Spokeo should be behind bars.
Need some proof? Go see your own information available for sale: http://www.spokeo.com/