Yesterday, CDT filed a complaint to the FTC against Spokeo, Inc., an online data aggregator. There are several services similar to Spokeo, so what makes them so bad, and how are they violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
What Spokeo Does
Spokeo is an online data aggregator. They skim information on thousands of people from social networks, not from actual reporting. The vast majority of the data aggregated on Spokeo.com can be found by searching within social networks or by using a search engine. By compiling this information, Spokeo provides the service of skipping tedious searching in order to find data on someone. Spokeo does not guarantee the "accuracy, legitimacy, or legality" of this information, nor should it - information gathered from a social network isn't necessarily real information.
Let's try an example search to show how accurate Spokeo is. I performed a search on my fiancée, and here's what resulted:
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Well, the birthday is correct, but apparently, the 25-year-old Caucasian female I am dating is actually a rich, retired African-American male. At least it got the "no children" thing right. But wait: