Website compiles personal information for anyone to see

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The website is spokeo.com compiles your information from social media sites, marketing lists, government records and other public sources.  Giving individuals access to a wide variety of information all in one spot.

"People need to think about what they put out there for the world to consume," Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says be careful what you're telling the world, especially on social media sites like facebook.com and twitter.

With a few quick online searches, anyone can find out a lot about you.  Now, sites like spokeo.com are popping up.  It find public online information like your address, phone number, family members, a satellite shot of your home, and more and puts it all on one page, and much of the information is free.

"You have to be guarded as in any other public place because that's where you are," says McDaniel.  This site is not like facebook.com where you have the choice of making your information available.  Unless you physically take your information off, it is there for anyone.

With sites like these, what is really in question is invasion of privacy, "Well the definition of privacy is changing.  I can tell you that there are laws that protect internet commerce, and the first amendment protects free speech, and at the same time we have to strike a balance that protects individuals," says McDaniel.

He adds, not everything on the site is completely accurate; "It's pretty limited. It's pretty harmless. You don't have my social security number, you don't have my bank information, and you certainly don't have information that I wouldn't want the public to see."

It is a good idea to search your name to see exactly what is out there and to take the proper steps to have anything you don't want removed.  To remove yourself from www.spokeo.com, first go to the website, and find your profile.  Once you find your profile, you need to copy the URL address (for example, "http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=Smith%20Sample#Sample:12345678").  Go down to the bottom of the page and click privacy.  Paste the URL, type your e-mail address and code, then click remove listing.  An e-mail will be sent to your e-mail account, and with information to complete the process.

It is shocking how much you can find on a person in a matter of seconds.  The scary thing is, if spokeo.com can find it, it is public information.

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