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Author Topic: Spokeo - new stalking social networking site?  (Read 4114 times)
justice
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« on: March 24, 2008, 06:18:52 AM »

I received the following concerning email today from Spokeo, a site that collects user information from many social websites including picasa, flickr, myspace etc and uses this data to reconstruct friends so you can stay up to date with what they're doing. They stress they only use public available information, i.e. information you can find if you know all the user accounts from certain people and visited the websites individually. However the organisation and collection of this data is automatic and there does not seem to be a way to prevent this from happening. I got the following email (I had never heard of spokeo before this):

Quote from: http://spokeo.com/
As a courtesy, we are notifying you that Spokeo users have found the following accounts for you:

     <account removed> on Flickr
    <account removed> on Digg
     <account removed> on imeem
     <account removed> on Picasa
     <account removed> on Pandora
     <account removed> on Stumbleupon
     <account removed> on Multiply
     <account removed> on iLike


The thing is that many of these accounts have different usernames and personal information, the only way that I can see that hey are connected is via e-mail address. I have not looked into finding other people but if this information is available to them then it makes it extremely easy to hack someone's online life if you somehow retrieve a password to one of these sites (security breach or easy guess). Spokeo also  encourages you (although you don't have to) to register using your gmail / aim / yahoo login details, meaning that your google checkout information could now be linked in to all this.

To retrieve this information manually would require a very determined person to work for at least a couple of hours.. Do you manage your privacy settings on all the services you have ever tried out? Picasa for example implemented privacy options at a later stage - so it's likely that some information can be found. Thanks to spokeo I have now deleted accounts on many of the services it found.

Find your friends. Track your friends. But it's not opt-in, there is not even an opt-out. The meta gathering process in my opinion requires additional privacy controls. Is this allowed by Law?

Am I the only one that finds this very worrying. As far as I can see in the hands of the wrong people this could cause major problems. I'm waiting on a response from spokeo.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2008, 06:43:53 AM by justice » Logged

momonan
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2008, 07:27:43 AM »

This could be legitimate, but it sounds more like phishing to me.  Be careful if they ask you to provide your log-in information and/or password in order to be removed from their list.  It may just be a way of getting you to give them your personal information.  Try hovering over the addresses they give, just to get an idea if you might be connecting to some phishing site.  Just a precaution, that's all.  Maybe I'm just getting too suspicious of unsolicited "warnings."
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PhilB66
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 08:10:17 AM »

Sounds like a spam email... you might find this blog article an interesting read. Here's another one: Spokeo? More like Spooky-o; bad practice taken to the extreme.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2008, 08:23:32 AM by PhilB66 » Logged
Deozaan
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 07:24:49 AM »

NECROTHREAD RESURRECTION COMPLETE!

I don't know how I missed this post 2 years ago, but this really is spooky!

Seriously. Go to spokeo.com (USA only) and type in your name (and any past names for you married ladies). If you don't like your information being displayed, click on your name (at the left) and then copy the URL of your profile, then click the Privacy link in the bottom right corner of the page. You will be given the opportunity to paste the URL to opt out of the service.

You may also want to consider the other ways people might be able to search for you. E-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc.

You will probably have to do this multiple times if your name brings up multiple search results.

The good news is that I just did this and was instantly removed from the search results.

Technology sure is amazing, but also really scary when you consider the ways it can be abused.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 04:54:26 PM by Deozaan » Logged

techidave
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 08:25:31 AM »

thanks for telling us about this!  I was able to remove myself as well.
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justice
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 09:12:31 AM »

The site is different now from when I remember it. It was a beta site and there were no payment options - it's worse to think that if we hadn't visited this site back then you'd never check your details with the site now. Thanks for the reply Deozaan.
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 10:15:52 AM »

Seriously. Go to spokeo.com and type in your name (and any past names for you married ladies). If you don't like your information being displayed, click on your name (at the left) and then copy the URL of your profile, then click the Privacy link in the bottom right corner of the page. You will be given the opportunity to paste the URL to opt out of the service.
Well, I just searched for me, and all they had was my name, address, phone number, spouse's name, assessed value of my house (!), and approximate age.  I thought about asking them to remove that, but to do that I'd have to give them my email address.  Frankly, since they apparently don't yet have that, that's the last thing I'd want to add to their info.  I don't trust them at all.  So, since the info they have is pretty much readily available online already, I'm tempted to let them keep that.  I do have junk email addresses, but I think I'd rather these sleazeballs didn't even know what they are.   thumb down  thumb down   thumb down

Thanks, guys, for the heads-up about this.
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timns
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 10:47:01 AM »

I'm not so worried:

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tomos
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 12:40:10 PM »

I'm not so worried:
 (see attachment in previous post)

seems to only be for usa
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 12:56:15 PM »

Let's hope so - although it probably has tendrils everywhere
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Deozaan
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 04:53:40 PM »

I'm usually pretty good about not giving out personal information on websites and setting privacy controls to the most restrictive, so the information they had about me was outdated and incomplete. They had me at an address I haven't lived at for a couple years now and didn't have my wife listed (even though we both lived at that address at the same time...)

As I said, I was able to opt out fairly easily and without any hassle (except for creating a fake e-mail address for the opt out process).

I checked out some of my family and it's a bit more scary in some cases. Photos of the front of their house, with their cars in the driveway (from Google Street View, I'm sure).

Also, I've heard from a friend that if you are listed multiple times, they tell you that "in order to prevent abuse" they can only accept so many opt-out requests from the same e-mail address. He's more web savvy than I am. He says he ended up having to use multiple e-mail addresses and multiple IPs to remove them all.

Spokeo sure is spooky-o indeed!

seems to only be for usa

Yeah, I thought the OP said that so I didn't mention it, but I guess I was mistaken. I've updated my post to reflect that.
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