Information For Sale*
We Live In The Information Age. That Information Is For Sale.. Even To You.
A reader sent me an email asking me for my thoughts on a website that provides “background checks”, for anyone with a credit card, after he had seen a commercial on TV. (I guess it is supposed to be more effective than simply Googling someone’s name…)
Vodpod videos no longer available.
BeenVerified.com claims to provide “background checks” (much like you might hire a PI to do) but also has this disclaimer — though, who reads those?
“Disclaimer: While we are constantly updating and refining our database and service, we do not represent or warrant that the results provided will be 100% accurate and up to date. BeenVerified™ is a database of publicly available sources of information aggregated for your convenience. BeenVerified™ does not provide private investigator services and this information should not be used for employment, tenant screening, or any FCRA related purposes. BeenVerified™ does not make any representation or warranty as to the character or the integrity of the person, business, or entity that is the subject of any search inquiry processed through our service. None of the above-featured companies either sponsor, endorse, or are in anyway affiliated with BeenVerified™.”
The keywords here are “aggregated”, and “publicly available sources”.
Some similar aggregator sites I have written about before: MyLife.com and Spokeo. (You may want to click those links and read..) There are several others. But, BeenVerified’s marketing angle is a new one to me.
What these sites do is collect, correlate, compile into one easy list, and sell access to the various mentions of us posted online, and/or uploaded into public databases (and there are many of those.. like property tax records, phone books..), information you could access yourself, one piece at a time. Short version: automated Big Brother. They are kind of convenient. And as time passes, and we put more of ourselves online (or the Gov’t and Businesses do it for us), the more detailed these ‘reports’ (search results, essentially) will be about us. Those doing genealogy love sites like this.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
In my years of writing, I have often talked about surveillance societies, tech, and “Big Brother” (use that last as a keyword in my search widget). From reader reaction to these articles, I have concluded that the concept formerly known as “privacy” is dead.. and that nobody cares.
After all.. it’s pretty cool that you can look up your High School sweetheart, and your childhood pals. Right?
For those of you thinkers out there – I might ask you to consider the Law of Unintended Consequences. And maybe ask yourself how many people using this service (to decide if you can rent from them) read the disclaimer. Or how criminals might use (and love) these services too?
The future is here.
(PS — I have found that websites that advertise on TV.. well, I don’t want anything to do with them. And, the good ones don’t need to. That goes for software as well.)
Orig. post: 2/22/11
“A rose by any other name would be, well, confusing.” Read more..
Today’s quote: “How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?” ~ François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
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