New Site Displays ALL Of Your Personal Info
by Chris Hardwick on December 31, 2010
Upon launching the Spokeo website, they cleverly remind you that “it’s not your grandma’s phonebook,” which is not only a hacky reference but also literally true: the old meatspace phonebooks didn’t automatically expose all of your private information like age, income, home value, credit score, relationship status and map to your house. Who the Eff are these freaks? How did they get ALL of your info? I don’t know, but all of mine was there. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove yourself from the database of these privacy rapists currently thriving in Zuckerberg’s America.
1. Goto Spokeo.com
2.Enter your name and city in the search field
3. Suppress your shout of “Holy CRAPSTAINS!!!” when you see how much of your info is displayed
4. Copy the URL
5. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see “Privacy” in the footer links. Click it.
6. Paste the URL in the field underneath “To remove a listing from Spokeo…”
7. You’ll have to enter an email (sucky, I know) but do what I do and use a secondary one that you only give out to list managers. Try to AVOID giving them your primary email addy. No one has confirmed whether or not they’re phishing for emails, but I wasn’t going to leave the detailed info they had on me so I gave them the dummy address. Extortion much? Unfortunately, they limit the number of listings you can remove to two per email to “prevent abuse”. Really? Could that be any more abusive than displaying all of someone’s personal info??
8. Click “Remove Listing”
9. Check your email; the removal confirmation from Spokeo should come immediately
10. Click after “To complete the removal process…”
11. Celebrate that you have pulled your info off yet another service that took it from you, and rest until the next such battle with some other similar site, likely in an hour or so
UPDATE: Turns out the site it a couple of years old. Also, the veracity of personal information varies from person to person. For me it was SHOCKINGLY accurate. Other folks even found pictures on the site that came from their as-private-as-they-could-make-it Facebook accounts, along with links to family members. Still, other folks either report no listing or old info. In any case, it’s worth a look.
2nd UPDATE: When you’re done, go into your browser prefs and search cookies for “spokeo”, then delete them. Submitted by the hilariously named user “Obvious Point” in the comments.