"It can list your address, a picture of your home, how much it cost, how long you have lived there, your approximate age and income, your relationship status and more," the article warned. "And it is online for anyone to see."
Well, sort of.
Around a year ago, Spokeo.com was encouraging people to sign up and link their address books to the site, ostensibly so someone who had friends on multiple social media sites could track them down.
"Enter any single email address, and Spokeo will search across 41 social networks for all related online profiles," the company said, in an email message from January, 2009. "If you import an entire address book, Spokeo will show you all your friends' photos, videos, and blogs."
Apparently, the site did a little more with the information than that.
The article warned that some users had found that the information on the site was incorrect, and so it was for me -- it listed me as married to someone ten years older than his actual age whom I divorced in 2002, that my house was worth $1 million (let me tell you, my *town* is hardly worth that much), that I played hockey and football, and that my 60+ year-old house was built in 2003.
On the other hand, it has the picture of my house from Google Streetview, as well as my address and telephone number, as well as other personal information about me -- plus other personal information I can only see by paying $3 a month.
The article describes a procedure for removing one's information from the site, starting by clicking "Privacy" on the bottom of the site. However, when I did that, the site wanted a Captcha response -- which it did not display properly in either Google Chrome or Microsoft Internet Explorer, and which offered no other options for, say, the visually impaired. (A later attempt, after rebooting the browser, worked.)
The site reportedly also gets information from social networking sites such as Facebook, which is likely to increase calls for improved privacy on such sites.