For some, a first encounter with Spokeo is spooky. How could a website know where I live, how many individuals are in my family, the value of my home, and so on? It’s just plain creepy. According to Spokeo’s website, “Spokeo aggregates data from hundreds of online and offline sources, including but not limited to: phone directories, social networks, marketing surveys, mailing lists, government censuses, real estate listings, and business websites. All of the data aggregated is publicly available, and accessible by anyone from those respective sources.” The truth is, Spokeo is not alone; there are several services out there who aggregate the same type of information.
In a recent blog post on the “Health Care Privacy” blog, the author tells readers about a time recently when he complained about his insurance company on Facebook, and then received a call two hours later from another insurance company asking if he was satisfied with his insurance. A mere coincidence or no? You guessed it, Spokeo’s site gives insurance companies the one-up on individual’s private information. Thankfully, there is a way to remove yourself from the site, which you can do at any time.
Face it, Spokeo is spooky and we now live in a world where everyday is Halloween on the Internet. And like Halloween, there are two sides to the story: Trick or Treat. You get the good with the bad. So be careful out there or someone may steal your candy!
Check out the “Health Care Privacy” blog for directions on how to rid your name from the Spokeo site: http://healthcareprivacy.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/how-to-remove-yourself-from-spokeo/.
Post by Dan Dunlop and Stephanie Cohen, Jennings Intern and UNC-Chapel Hill Student