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Spokeo: Making Your Private Information Public

A friend of mine just sent me a link to a site that could be slightly scary for people who care about their privacy. The site is called, Spokeo. Spokeo bills itself as

a search engine specialized in organizing people-related information from phone books, social networks, marketing lists, business sites, and other public sources. Most of this data is publicly available on the Web.

What this means for you is that Spokeo is a place that makes it easy for anyone to find personal information about you on the web.

As as test, I entered my name. Fortunately, or not, I have a fairly common name, so about 1,000 James Gunters came up in the results. However, when I searched by email, Spokeo found a variety of photos of me and my children, along with blogs I had commented on and IP addresses I have used. Supposedly, you can also get results for home values that I may have owned. Yikes.

But there is one saving grace. You can remove yourself from Spokeo searches by clicking the Privacy link at the bottom of the page. If the search results unnerve you, like they did me, you might want to head over and remove yourself from the system.

James Gunter is the editor of The Crime Map and the director of social media for

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3 thoughts on “Spokeo: Making Your Private Information Public

  1. Aloha James,
    Google “Spokeo” and you’ll find that it’s an “aggregator”.
    It’s like a concierge at a hotel who knows about various services that the hotel has or not. Sometimes, the concierge gets a “finder’s fee” for a referral, sometimes not. Spokeo works almost in the same way. It kinda sorta knows where your personal data is stored/archived. So when you use their “front end” it goes to these storage sites and retrieve the data that is being queried (basically, your name). The data is not stored on their site per se. When you request to “opt out”, they do not remove the data from the storage/archived sites – they merely cut off their connection to those sites. Your data/information is still at these sites! Which means they can still be accessed, but not by Spokeo.
    In essence, “What happens on the ‘Net, stays on the ‘Net!”
    Aloha & Be Safe!
    BTW, this post is purely IMO!

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