By Julie Watts

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Imagine your home address, family information, and the names of all your known relatives available to anyone online, for free.

The site, Family Tree Now, bills itself as a genealogy researching tool. But it also aggregates public information.

A law enforcement group issued a warning following concerns that people could use the site to target police officers.

Their information, and your information, is out there. It’s surprisingly accurate. And available to anyone for free.

Simply type in a name, narrow it down by an age and Family Tree Now provides a list of possible relatives and associates. And most concerning for many, their home address.

This is an obvious concern for public figures, police officers, stalking and domestic violence victims.

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out this could be dangerous for just about anyone.

EFF Activism director Rainey Reitman said, “Let’s say you’re on vacation with your family and posting photos on Instagram. Anybody who happens to see those photos can look up your home address. So everyday people have lots of good reason to keep their address private.”

Now privacy advocates note — on the bright side — that the site is bringing attention to what EFF calls an “industry out of control,” profiting off selling your personal information.

They hope this grabs the attention of lawmakers.

Because while you can opt out of this website, you can’t opt out of the dozens of others that are selling your information.


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