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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 CrimeReports.com.

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