Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spokeo is a Spooky Application That Threatens Your Privacy

My cousin sent me a warning yesterday about a website called Spokeo. It is essentially a 'Big Brother' version of the old fashioned Yellow Pages. You input the name of anyone that you know ... and Spokeo responds with basic contact information, information about your real estate property, satellite photo of your house, estimates your net worth and pulls in photos and comments from various social media platforms.

Spokeo had two entries for me. One was from a work address and the other was from my personal address. I took the steps needed to have my name removed from the Spokeo directory ... and I suggest that all villagers do the same.

Spokeo gives away almost everything about you to any Tom, Dick or Harry that wants to learn about you. All of your private information and net worth along with location of your home, complete with contact information and your social network can be made available for as little as $2.95 per month for all of the sophisticated bill collectors, crooks, degenerates and robbers out there. Not cool.

Removing your name from Spokeo is not difficult:
  1. Search for yourself on Spokeo
  2. Find and copy the URL to your Spokeo page
  3. Click on the 'privacy' link at the bottom right of the Spokeo page
  4. Follow the privacy instructions to remove your information from Spokeo
  5. Paste the URL, your name and type the security phrase.
  6. Then go to your e-mail (might go in your junk e-mail) in-box and confirm (or validate) your removal request.
Spokeo may be spooky ... but, I do appreciate the ease in which they allow you to remove your information from public view.

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