Big Brother update. Have you heard of spokeo.com? It’s probably old news to a lot of people but I just found out about it today. If you haven’t heard of it, it is essentially Big Brother’s homepage. All of your personal information is readily available to anyone who wants it (and is willing to pay $3.95 per month). Your name, age, current and previous addresses, phone number, email, social networking accounts, and photos are all there. There is a picture of your house and how much you paid for it. They also have your family covered: your spouse’s info is available, along with your family tree and applicable links. Seriously, check it out. There’s an option to remove your information; see the instructions at the end of this entry.
Fantastic, right? You can see the rationale: say you’re a “journalist”, and you don’t have weeks to spend stalking a single victim. You’ve got plenty of other people to crucify. Well, now you don’t have to spend your valuable time going through each victim’s garbage just to get the dirt on them. Spokeo has done the stalking for you, and will gladly sell your rights to everyone’s information for a mere $3.95 per month.
Here’s another instance of blatant overreaching without consent: many hospitals have instituted a Palm Scan for patients. You put your hand over the scanner, and voila! All your personal information from your eye color to your blood type appears on the screen, for the convenience of the doctors, nurses, billing specialists, receptionists, the IT team, etc. It’s even mandatory at some hospitals. There was a time not long ago when only felons were forced to have prints on record. Predictably, the government is all about the Palm Scan idea, and would even like to take it one step further by forcing all Americans to carry National ID cards (the cover story is that it will somehow eradicate illegal immigration). Don’t want one? Don’t worry, you don’t have to – unless you want to buy a home, keep your job, or vote.
I can’t understand why people aren’t outraged by the constant forays into our privacy. Isn’t there something we can do? Oh, and that reminds me of the stupidest comment I heard today. While this discussion about spokeo was taking place, another person came over and said, “Well, I trust the government, so I don’t mind if they have my information.” Apparently, the dim possibility that someday someone whom he does not trust may be elected has never occurred to this trusting citizen.
How to Remove Your Personal Information from Spokeo.com
- Go to Spokeo.com and search for your name
- Locate your listing and copy the URL
- Click on the word Privacy at the bottom of the page (it’s in faint letters in the lower right corner of the page)
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and paste your URL into the field as indicated
- Enter your email address, and type in the letters from the captcha code
- Open a new browser window and navigate to your email account.
- Open the confirmation email from Spokeo and click on the link to confirm your information is deleted