The Center for Democracy and Technology submits this complaint to petition the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the recent business practices of Spokeo, Inc., operator of an online data aggregator and broker.
Spokeo offers detailed consumer profiles about millions of Americans on its website, Spokeo.com. These profiles include highly personal information, including religious and ethnic background, judgments about shopping and recreational habits, and information about family members and roommates. Spokeo also purports to offer “Credit Estimate” and “Wealth Level” ratings for the millions of persons in its database, as well as information about mortgage values, income, and investments in order to convince people to sign up for the Spokeo’s premium paid service. The site also encourages employers to access its database in evaluating potential hires.
In fact, Spokeo does not provide much of the data it promises, and other conclusions and facts on the site about consumers are often extremely inaccurate. The site does offer “Credit Estimate” and “Wealth Level” ratings to paid subscribers, though it does not disclose how and on what information those assessments are based.