Information Distribution Systems

Most people have googled their own names to see what comes up. A quick search will commonly uncover Spokeo or Whitepages reports, which list age, place of residence, and relatives. In some instances, like on the Radaris site, maps indicate place of residence and street location. Some of the information may be accurate, some not.

Although basic information is visible to anyone who uses a search engine to access these files, more detailed reports including properties, financial records, criminal records, and more are available for purchase.

Many people may wonder how sites such as Radaris retrieve personal information. According to the company, its search engine constantly monitors and retrieves publicly available information from the Internet. This can include public social media posts.

According to InfoWorld, “Aggregator sites such as Intelius, Radaris, and PeopleFinder have data warehouses full of information about you, accessible to people without your permission, and used for purposes you know nothing about.” It also says, “Fortunately, most aggregators have an opt-out policy, so you can explicitly order them not to use your information.” Unfortunately, the opt-out process is time consuming and has an expiration date.

Beyond personal data appearing on the Internet, companies can also retrieve personal financial information about individuals and businesses. Businesses are often unwillingly listed on Google or Yahoo as well. This happens through the compiling of information from databases with intent to prepare combined datasets for data processing. Some information is accurate while other information is not.