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Does Privacy Matter to You?

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Privacy ProtectionIf you are uncomfortable having your name, address, phone number and even a map to your home accessible to any and all you need to take a look at Spokeo because chances are you’ll find yourself listed.

Their claim of just being a user-friendly search that will allow users to find and keep up with friends, makes my jaw clench. It clenches even more because this is not an opt-in site. They collect data from all types of sources and put it together on a profile page. You aren’t asked if you want to participate. Nor is there any assurance of accuracy of the data they present. It could be very old or may no longer pertain to your current situation. I have two listings – I use Susan and Sue and they managed to find and list both as separate profiles.  Unfortunately one of them is ancient and other than the name, none of the information is accurate.

Laughingly I read that their site had received over 9 million visitors in January. I just bet they did – would love to know how many of those were opting out of the program!  Yes, you can opt out.  Go to their site, enter your name in the search box, scroll through the results and find your personal profile.  In the browser will be a long address (URL). Copy that and then go to their Privacy page and complete the required information. Sadly there is no guarantee that your information won’t be added again; a month or so from now you may end up back in their clutches. Clever of them, deceptively so. They can claim to advertisers they get millions of hits even though a lot of those will be people opting out and then having to check back frequently to be sure they haven’t been added again.

It remains to be seen if  there will be enough of an uproar from people about this invasion of privacy to get the FTC involved. Personally I take issue with someone else adding my personal information for all the world to see.

What is your opinion about what Spokeo is doing?

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