Big List of Scary Personal Data Websites + Opt Out Info

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“People would care more about privacy if they knew how exposed they already are online,” says Geoffrey A. Fowler in his WSJ article Your Data Is Way More Exposed Than You Realize. I would have to agree.

I hear this all the time: “I have nothing to hide.” The truth is, pretty much everybody does something online they have reason to keep private.

The full article is behind a paywall, but here are the websites that should scare you into caring. I’ve selectively avoided full linking and added some info of my own as well. Opt out information is included where possible.

  • FamilyTreeNow.com – Public access to your current and past addresses, phone numbers, relatives and associates. See my previous post. Opt out at www.familytreenow.com/optout.
  • TruePeopleSearch.com – Public access to your current and past addresses, phone numbers, relatives and associates. See my previous post. Opt out at www.truepeoplesearch.com/removal.
  • Spokeo.com – Public/paid access to birth month, email, current and past addresses, phone numbers, relatives, social networks and court records. Opt out at spokeo.com/optout.
  • StalkScan.com – Mines data from Facebook to reveal information that can be found publicly. Open to public. You can adjust your Facebook settings, but your friends may also be the source.
  • Google Maps Timeline – Google may be tracking your location all day long and keeping records forever. Not public. You can log in and request your data to be deleted.
  • Google My Activity – Google may be tracking every search and your web browsing history and keeping records. Not public. You can log in and request your data to be deleted.
  • AboutTheData.com – Acxiom is a data broker that uses information to target ads and marketing. I found some unique data on there, although supposedly it’s not public (just up for sale). View/edit/remove data here.

Let me know if you know of any other similar sites. See also:



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Comments

  1. Phillip says:

    What is wrong with your web site ?
    Very slow and not very reliable ?

    • I checked and everything looks fine on my end. Please let me know any additional details about the problems you are experiencing and I’ll look into it.

  2. A reader says:
  3. A reader says:
  4. Alex Coward says:

    Be careful with opting out.

    In today’s upside down world, an opt-out signals that their data is good. This, paradoxically, improves their data and potentially helps them pull even more.

    There is an argument to be made that the best strategy is to ignore them.

  5. Most of my data is wrong, but I opted out anyway. How does this signal that their data is good?

  6. A reader says:

    Found some more:

    1. Whitepages.com

    https://support.whitepages.com/hc/en-us/articles/203263794-Remove-my-listing-from-Whitepages-

    Their opt out guide seems outdated and useless, no idea how to opt out

    2. ZoomInfo.com

    http://www.zoominfo.com/business/about-zoominfo/privacy-center
    http://www.zoominfo.com/lookupEmail

    Not sure if this works or not.

  7. Hi Jonathan,

    Here is another data collection agency, theretailequation.com. They track your returns and flag you. You can be denied a return.

    “What Is The Retail Equation?

    The Retail Equation (TRE), headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is the industry leader in retail transaction optimization solutions at the point of sale and point of return. The company has been in business since 1999 to help retailers deliver a better customer shopping experience, while preventing retail fraud/abuse and protecting the bottom line. The company has a variety of technology solutions used by top-tier retailers across North America. The most common is Verify® Return Authorization, which uses statistical modeling and analytics to detect fraudulent and abusive behavior when returns are processed at retailers’ return counters. TRE’s software also helps retailers reward good customers with incentives at the point of sale or return.”

    How to get info on yourself.
    Consumers can contact TRE by sending an e-mail to ReturnActivityReport@TheRetailEquation.com or a letter to The Retail Equation, P.O. Box 51373, Irvine, CA 92619-1373 USA. Requests should include the consumer’s name and a phone number where he/she can be contacted. When TRE calls, the company will ask for the consumer’s driver’s license number and state, to enable a database search. TRE representatives prefer to call consumers to avoid sending personal information via e-mail or mail.

  8. hi Jonathan,

    Sam here and yet another story about how our personal information impacts our health insurance bill.

    Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates
    https://www.propublica.org/article/health-insurers-are-vacuuming-up-details-about-you-and-it-could-raise-your-rates

    Optum. The company, owned by the massive UnitedHealth Group, has collected the medical diagnoses, tests, prescriptions, costs and socioeconomic data of 150 million Americans going back to 1993, according to its marketing materials. (UnitedHealth Group provides financial support to NPR.) The company says it uses the information to link patients’ medical outcomes and costs to details like their level of education, net worth, family structure and race.
    Optum’s marketing materials also boast that it now has access to even more. In 2016, the company filed a patent application to gather what people share on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and link this material to the person’s clinical and payment information.

    The industry has a history of boosting profits by signing up healthy people and finding ways to avoid sick people — called “cherry-picking” and “lemon-dropping,” experts say. Among the classic examples: A company was accused of putting its enrollment office on the third floor of a building without an elevator, so only healthy patients could make the trek to sign up. Another tried to appeal to spry seniors by holding square dances.

    the Trump administration is promoting short-term health plans, which do allow insurers to deny coverage to sick patients.

    People who downsize their homes tend to have higher health care costs, the company says.

    A high school dropout who had a recent income loss and doesn’t have a relative nearby might have higher than expected health costs.
    But couldn’t that same type of person be healthy? I asked.
    “Sure,” McCulley said, with no apparent dismay at the possibility that the predictions could be wrong.

    Aetna had obtained personal information from a data broker on millions of Americans. The data contained each person’s habits and hobbies, like whether they owned a gun, and if so, what type, she said. It included whether they had magazine subscriptions, liked to ride bikes or run marathons. It had hundreds of personal details about each person.

    In Europe, data protection is a constitutional right

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