Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Another Website In The News

* FTC Pounds Spokeo

While the FTC never seems to be carrying a particularly big stick, it has been threatening hard knocks on Internet companies that play fast and loose with user data. Spokeo is the latest enterprise to be licking its wounds. Read more..

most recent post: Mary Jander… One of the big turnoffs for me personally is the listing by some “people finder” sites of relatives,…

Spokeo.. I think I have heard of that one.. let me see. Ah, yes. It is one of those I have been talking about this week.

Spokeo is a social network aggregator website that aggregates data from many online and offline sources (such as phone directories, social networks, photo albums, marketing surveys, mailing lists, government censuses, real estate listings, and business websites). This aggregated data may include demographic data, social profiles, and estimated property and wealth values.

Yes.. people finders. The Information Age. No such thing as reasonable privacy. Here’s another good read/factoid.

* Hacking as Usual

With all the excitement about state-sponsored superworms, cyberspying by government agencies, and legislation designed to take away all our freedoms in the cause of making sure Bono gets his royalties, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that hackers are going about their business as usual.” Read more..

So, again, today, I am going to follow my own advice, and get outside as much as I am able. (Glad it’s Friday!)

What you might see if you unplug your TV

… Never thought I’d be cheering for the FTC …

You could win: Folks, I was informed of a special promotion that’s happening now, and there’s a chance you could win a solid-state hard drive. Catch is you have to “Like” the company on Facebook and/or Twitter. Kinda boggles my mind how important (some people think) “like” votes are these days, (organizations are willing to buy them, I guess.. I saw one website giving away a car..) but, what the hey. This SSD retails for $80 $77.89, so you might want to participate, here. Take a look at the software while you’re there, too.
(And, yes. From what I understand, solid-state drives are the bee’s knees.)

Today’s quotable quote:Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.” ~ Mother Teresa

The weekend’s almost here!

Hmm.. maybe I was wrong. Maybe I should stay at my computer… I wouldn’t want to miss any important messages..


Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | computers, Internet, tech | , , , | Leave a comment – Your Discount Private Eye?

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. 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: 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.


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.)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 22, 2011 Posted by | computers, Internet, privacy, tech | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments