May 14, 2008
Web Sites Specialize In Watching You

If you feel paranoid because you feel you are being watched then your reaction is rational. Though I would advise "Don't worry, be happy".

Zaba Inc.'s turns up public records such as criminal history and birthdates. Spock Networks Inc.'s and Wink Technologies Inc.'s are "people-search engines" that specialize in digging up personal pages, such as social-networking profiles, buried deep in the Web. is a search site operated by Spokeo Inc., a startup that lets users see what their friends are doing on other Web sites. Zillow Inc.'s estimates the value of people's homes, while the Huffington Post's Fundrace feature tracks their campaign donations. Jigsaw Data Corp.'s, meanwhile, lets people share details with each other from business cards they've collected -- a sort of gray market for Rolodex data.

Check up on the political leanings of your neighbors.

Some sites use the ability to snoop as a selling point. The Huffington Post's Fundrace feature, which allows users to enter their addresses and see a map showing their neighbors' political donations, uses this come-on: "Want to know ... whether that new guy you're seeing is actually a Republican or just dresses like one?"

Got a friend, neighbor, boss, or local political figure whose personal details pique your curiosity? Give these sites a whirl and let us know if you are successful in finding out surprising facts about them.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 May 14 02:13 PM  Surveillance Society

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