Public Record Databases: Protecting your personal information

Have you ever Googled yourself? Looked to see who has your information publicly available? Honestly, it’s crazy and scary to see the amount of information sites how available for anyone with an internet connection to see. I just found myself on a site and it showed an exact pinpoint of my home location. Creeeeepy.

I regularly look up my name on Google to see what comes up. There are many databases out there that store your information and will display some for free and charge as little as $0.99 to get a “full report”. I’ve never purchased one, wasn’t willing to give them money, but what I did do was go through the process of having them remove my information.

For many people, their names are more popular and common, for others, like me, our names are not so common and you find yourself on the first page of Google, showing your exact location. Again, creepy.

These sites collect information from various sites around the web to compile a database of previous addresses, current age, relatives, etc. The sites use implicit consent which means they have permission to publicly display your personal information unless you explicitly say they can’t.

Opt Out

These public record database sites must provide a way for you to remove your information. Some make it really simple, others want to really test your patience. I just removed myself from Instant CheckMate and it was so quick and easy. I scrolled to the bottom of the page (usually where you find any sort of opt out link) and right there was the link, “Remove my info”.

  1. I clicked the link
  2. Filled in my information to find my record
  3. Verified the record

I’m waiting on the email but overall, pretty simple.

A different site on the other hand, Public Data Check, requires you to create and email with specific information in the body so they can find your record and remove the information. It may be just a few extra steps but some of these sites can get a little ridiculous. I had a friend who had to send a photo copy of her ID to prove the record was her information.

Now, I find this route, verses the previous route, suspicious. Public record sites may have to remove your information, but they can still continue collecting data and store it. By having you provide them information, you may be adding to their database, this is just a personal theory though.

Monitoring your online presence is important. Privacy is quickly becoming a rare commodity.

What comes up when you Google yourself? Are you happy with your search results?

 

Photo by Agnieszka Boeske on Unsplash

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