They are probably not unique, but spokeo.com has robots diligently combing the world for your personal information. What they have on you might be surprising. And, while it is possible, they don’t make it obvious how you can delete (or at lease hide from public view) the data about you they have gathered for profit.
Telephone numbers, addresses, relationships, and of course age are only a few of the things about you that they are selling.
So: time to get your profiles off of spokeo.com. If anyone out there knows of similar services out there, let’s consolidate the “quit making profit by selling my personal data” list.
NOTE: These instructions might be more complicated than necessary, but this method is what I tested.
- Go to spokeo.com
- Enter your name. Scan the matches for any that might be you. You will have to delete each profile individually.
- Select a profile. In the window that pops up, select “see it all”.
- You will go to a screen that tries to sell you the service, including “See all available information, including photos, profiles, lifestyle and wealth data.” Now you remember why you’re dong this.
- Copy the entire URL from the address bar of your browser.
- Down at the bottom of the screen is a teeny, tiny little link that says “privacy”. Click that.
- Paste in the URL.
- Supply an email address. TIP: you can tag your address with a plus sign. For instance, instead of [email protected] you can use [email protected] That way any email they send to you will be tagged. (This opens up a different discussion that I will leave for another day.)
- Try to decipher the CAPTCHA, then submit.
- When the email arrives, click the link and your data will be “removed”. I don’t honestly expect the data is actually deleted, but at least it’s a little more hidden.
- Repeat the process with any other profiles that might be you. You will have to use a different email tag each time.
- Write a robot that automatically deletes records from their database. If I had the skills I’d do it myself. With robots they gather, with robots we take away.
I recommend that you don’t do this “later”, or “tomorrow”, but now. If you have any troubles, leave a comment and I’ll clarify the instructions. If you know of other “services” like this one, let’s add them here!