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Jul 19

The New Gestalt of Virtual Identity

by Harrison • July 19, 2010

The Spokeo Perspective

Today a new reality is slowly emerging which could hardly be anticipated when Spokeo first began.  All of us – innovators and users alike – are slowly becoming aware that aggregating multiple public profiles and consolidating them into one seems to give birth to yet a whole new identity heretofore unrecognized. This is, in essence, the new gestalt of virtual identity – an identity that is sometimes greater than the sum of its parts. Some find this “new” identity disturbing, while – happily – many more do not.  They recognize that it is simply a natural corollary of the information age and people-search aggregation.

The Web is becoming more open and connected with each passing day.  In the late 90s, posting photos online was almost inconceivable. Today it is the norm.  A few years ago, sharing what you were doing or where you were in real time was unimaginable. Today services like Twitter and Foursquare are all the rage.  These cultural changes have new privacy implications, and technologies like Spokeo are helping to reveal and shape new norms.

We’ve been listening to people’s feedback closely, and have been implementing many changes, even amidst the big technical challenges we have faced from the sudden traffic surge to our site. Spokeo has declared its ground-breaking objective to be the first data aggregator ever to offer users some measure of control over the public information that is published about them. We are now working feverishly to deliver upon that objective, and hope to unveil our new privacy controls within the year.  

Many have heard our pioneering message, and are waiting expectantly to see what we can achieve.  Others remain at odds with the existence of people search as a whole, and would rather we simply disappear. We are not politicians, nor philosophers. We are just engineers.  The truth is, we do not spend a lot of time discussing problems. We prefer a hands-on approach to solving them.  While it’s impossible to make everyone happy, one thing I do promise:  We intend to keep trying our very best.  Thanks to all of our loyal users for your patience. The best is yet to come.

Harrison Tang, President

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