You may have seen the newest “Personal Information Aggregator” site making the round lately called Spokeo. While I’m not the kind of guy that worries about what information about me is on the net because I only put out information that I am comfortable having others know (and my first name isn’t Shane) but this site bothers me. It searches and scrubs all your information from credit rating to home value, to wealth level. I realize that someone can already get this information if they know where to go but this is the first time I’ve seen a site make it real easy and cheap to find out all this info. It takes things that are public and combines it with very private info such as unlisted phone numbers and as mentioned before, credit ratings.
Spokeo was conceived 2006, by yet another Stanford grad named Henry Tang. He told the Los Angeles Times last June that Spokeo gets data from about 80 “public” sources, including LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and Yelp, and has been working with Facebook to open that door, too. Tellingly, Mr. Tang opted out of his own site over privacy concerns. I followed the lead of the creator of Spokeo and have had my information removed and it’s a very easy process.
Go to the bottom of the page on the right hand side and click Privacy. It will then take you a page that asks what link you want to have removed. Simply copy and paste the link and put in your email. Spokeo will send you an email to verify you want the link removed. Remember Spokeo could have several different of your old addresses, each containing your current data so you’ll want to delete them as well. You should receive a message that says you’ve been taken off. That’s it. Now you can go back to living your secret double life without concern that your web nemesis is gathering info to slander you. And be prepared for more sites like this to pop up.