Websites Collect And Reveal Personal Info

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Internet Privacy

(AP)

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Many people might be wondering exactly how much information about them is available online, as numerous websites make it their business to dig up that data.

Just one example is spokeo.com, where you can type in your name and up pops your name and address. If you click on your name, your profile appears, including your age, gender, a photo of your property and a list of the people you live with.

And for a price, you can access more personal information, like marriage and divorce records, even court and criminal records.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid said there’s a whole industry aggregating and selling this information and making it available within seconds.

“It can be scary to people. For example, a lot of people don’t want their home address publicized,” said Magid. “They may pay the phone company not to put it in their White Pages listing. But it’s out there somewhere. And if a company has access to enough data, they’re going to find it.”

But he said there is something you can do about it.

“Spokeo and most of the services let you opt out or take your name out,” said Magid. “But all you’re doing is taking your name out of their report. You’re not erasing the underlying data.”

But Magid said if companies offer to expunge your data from the internet for a fee, you should be cautious, as a private profile on the internet is “a tall order.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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