A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers"
There is a hideous practice by supposed social-networking databases to collect personally identifying information from so-called public records and hold the people to whom the information belongs hostage. The companies behind the databases refuse to delete the posted names and accompanying home addresses, etc., without the victim's "claiming" the posted identity to be his or her own, and providing even more complete personal information to the companies through an online form that even requires two former residential addresses. What does the company do with this One can only shudder to contemplate the outcome... This happens to people who have never visited the site, let alone sign up for membership. Such companies are out of control. A coincidental rash of firms that provide privacy for a price, "reputation-restorers," cropped up as this "public" information posting by these surreptitious database services increased. In addition to posting anyone's personal information they can get hold of, these same firms have the practice of hijacking personal address books from the computers of those unfortunate, unsuspecting people who actually do sign up with them. All those listed in their address books received e-mail invitations from the poor victimized "sender's" e-mail address requesting them to join. This is flagrant forgery, and complaints about such firms as MyLife.com (which took over Reunion.com) and FaceBook pervade consumer-complaint message boards. What is the worst that can happen from this One poster on ConsumerAffairs.com put it very succinctly: "This company and other[s] like it sell one[']s personal information without one[']s consent. This is personal information that can be used for ID Theft, stalkers, rapist[s], etc. I've requested various times for them to remove my information but they hide behind 'it's public information.' They should be legally forced to disclose where they get this public information upon request. People should get together to...file a class action lawsuit to permanently delete one[']s personal information and disclose where they get everyone's information." --Nick of Los Angeles, CA Dec. 30, 2010 The situation is an epidemic. Without privacy protection and restrictions on the Internet, there is no point in citizens who don't pay ransom subscriptions to privacy-protecting firms are helpless online, and shouldn't even bother using the World Wide Web. At the least, they should do what I have resigned to do with every online excursion that requires my inputting information in any electronic form field, from here on--that is, to absolutely withhold my real ID. Please protect the citizens of the United States by instituting measures that will end our irrevocable victimization by these unconscionable exploiters who don't deserve the air they breathe, let alone the bandwidth their databases occupy, and least of all, the money they get for selling our personal information. Curse them all.