This morning I wrote about how Big Brother is getting more intrusive than ever, referring to organs of the state and their deliberate flouting of our constitutional rights.
Some recent e-mails have pointed out that this invasion of our privacy is going on among private companies, too. There are companies out there which aggregate information about you from many sources, and will sell it to anyone with the money to pay their fees. We all know about credit bureaux, of course, but there are some organizations that go even further. Two that were mentioned in the e-mails are Instant Checkmate and Spokeo. The former says of itself:
Our goal is to provide you with the most useful, detailed and important information on just about anyone. We're continually listening to your feedback and working tirelessly each day to improve our data, technology, and website and services in general.
Whether researching arrest Records, phone numbers, addresses, demographic data, census data, or a wide variety of other information, we help thousands of Americans find what they're looking for each and every day.
I haven't bothered to pay their fees to find out how much they know about me . . . but it's disturbing to me that such services are offered at all. I have no way of knowing how much they know about me, or whether their information is correct, or why someone would want to pay them to obtain that information about me.
Do such businesses make it easier to steal others' identities? I'm willing to bet they do . . . and I'd love to know how many identity thieves subscribe to such services. Whoever said "Crime doesn't pay" clearly didn't have companies like that in mind!