Spokeo Privacy – Get the Scoop from the Source
Written byJanuary 10, 2011
As mentioned in our previous blog, Spokeo has been a sizzling hot news topic recently. I’m sure you’ve all seen the warning messages about Spokeo that you’re supposed to repost to your friends on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, or heard about Spokeo from your local news stations. To help clear up any confusion and dispel some of the rumors and myths going around, we would like to reiterate some facts about Spokeo – get the low down from the source.
We recognize that for some users it can be a startling experience to encounter a block of personalized information which they may otherwise be unaware exists – particularly when the information is of a type they may perceive as “private.” It is important to understand, however, that Spokeo does not generate any data, nor is it the source. We simply aggregate public records already published across the Internet and other venues, many of which have been in existence for a very long time, and act as a search engine like Google.
To shed light on some common misconceptions, Spokeo does not possess Social-Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank accounts, or other private financial information, such as credit scores. We are not a credit reporting agency. Further, since individual profiles are only as accurate as the published information they are comprised of, we continue to remind users that any information on our site is not guaranteed for accuracy and therefore should be regarded as a reference only, as stated in our disclaimers. That being said, we are actively working on improving the accuracy of the data, and will keep you posted with new developments.
Although the number of opt-out requests is only a small percentage of our total usage, we very much value all user input, and remain highly sensitive to any concerns some may have regarding their privacy. It is noteworthy that few search engines offer a full opt-out feature, or if they do, make it remotely as easy to use. The small percentage that do offer this option frequently employ lengthy and demanding authentication processes, often requiring one to submit hard copies of driver’s licenses, social security numbers, or other forms of identity via fax or mail. At present a user can opt out of their listing and remove it from Spokeo with only a few clicks of a mouse through an email verification process. (Click here for full instructions on how to opt out.)
Some people want to know why we require an e-mail, and speculate about whether it is for purposes of collecting more information. It is not. The reason Spokeo requires an e-mail to opt out is for the same reason that many other websites do – to authenticate that the request is in fact coming from a person and not a spambot – a malicious program that could otherwise wipe out the entire data base.
If you have any additional questions about Spokeo, check out our Help pages, or send us an email. Our traffic remains extremely high and may cause our site to run slowly, so please be patient as we work on improving this. We are also working on responding to all of your emails, and greatly appreciate your patience as our small team works on doing so.