Spokeo Blog

Empowering Spokeo’s Users

Written by June 12, 2012

Six years ago, my Stanford roommates and I built Spokeo to help us keep in touch with friends across a dizzying array of social networks. We are honored today to be at the helm of a principal destination for millions of Americans searching for and looking to connect with others. Like any startup, we grow with every decision we make and are confident that we are well positioned to continue offering consumers our leading people search technology. Spokeo will continue to be a company based on innovation that empowers consumers to reconnect with family and friends, learn about celebrities and other famous people, and discover their own online footprint.

A few years ago, we were eager to share our social network search tool with anyone who could find good use for it. Focusing on a prior version of our website, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) believes that our targeted marketing (at that time) implicated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which regulates the collection, dissemination and use of consumer information, including credit information provided by consumer reporting agencies. It has never been our intention to act as a consumer reporting agency. We have made changes to our site and our internal business practices in order to ensure we don’t infringe upon the FCRA’s important consumer protections, and to ensure an honest and transparent service that will continue to be easy for our customers to use. We are a technology company organizing people-related data in innovative ways. We do not create our own content, we do not possess or have access to private financial information, and we do not offer consumer reports.

Our agreement with the FTC will allow for a continued open dialogue regarding our business practices. We are eager to help shape the future of online information sharing. As we continue to provide new innovations within the people search industry, we are committed to making clarity and transparency top priorities for our customers.

We also believe our industry must listen to the public and work with policymakers to act on consumer privacy interests. Spokeo has taken a number of industry-leading steps to show its commitment:

* Keep Opt-out Free, Easy and Straightforward
We will continue to provide one of the easiest opt-out functions in the people search industry.

* Continue Open Discussion with Consumers
Our stellar customer service team, open seven days a week, is ready and willing to address each and every inquiry and maintains open dialog with anyone who expresses concerns.

* Focus on Public Engagement
Since his first day our Chief Strategy Officer, Emanuel Pleitez, has been engaging policy makers, industry leaders, and related parties, ensuring that we are a leader in consumer privacy practices within the industry.

* Review privacy practices and help develop industry standards
We also recently hired our Chief Privacy Officer, Angela Saverice-Rohan. With an accomplished background in privacy and technology, she is focusing on Spokeo’s privacy practices and engaging the industry in developing standards that address consumer interests.

We look forward to continued engagement with policymakers and the general public. We are inspired daily by the feedback we receive from those who have found lost loved ones through our site. Anyone who has used Spokeo to reconnect with a friend or lost family member, learn about a celebrity, or discover their online footprint knows that we provide some of the most advanced people search resources online. Our product enables users to satisfy the basic human desire to connect with others. We are committed to empowering our users through continued innovation in people search.

-Harrison Tang
Founder & President

(For press inquiries, please email mediarelations@spokeo.com)

Posted in Inside Spokeo, News Flash

CEO & Co-Founder, Spokeo

Join the Discussion

  • Simon |

    You are still collecting age, and other demographic information that I do not want made public. Since I was able to find this information without even logging in, so could others and potential employers. On my public profile you also list demographic information about my wife, also unacceptable. I suggest that you reach out to me, I will be filing a further complaint. You should allow me to opt of of any data collection.

  • Katie |

    Hi Simon, Spokeo specializes in aggregating and organizing vast quantities of people-related information from a large variety of public sources. Spokeo respects your privacy, and you can easily opt out of Spokeo’s public search if desired on our privacy page: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. Do not hesitate to contact our customer support at support@spokeo.com or by calling 1-800-699-4264 with any additional questions or requests. Thank you.

  • Wilson |

    You’re privacy note does not state clearly that a user has to do this for each location. One opt out means all other locations are in your database.

  • Katie |

    Hi Wilson, Thank you for your feedback and suggestion. You can only opt out one listing at a time, so if you have multiple listings you will need to do them separately. I’ll pass your message along to the team. Thank you.

  • Bobby J. Stanford |

    I will file a lawsuit if you do not remove my information from your website or other domain – including 3rd party connections that you have collected or given my information.

  • Katie |

    Hi Bobby, Please email our customer support at support@spokeo.com and provide them with the links to your listings so they can remove them for you. You can also opt out your listings at http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. This process is only intended to remove information available through Spokeo.com and cannot remove the information from the third-party public sources, such as phone books. Thank you.

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