Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spokeo, Round Three

I got this email from Spokeo four days ago requesting that I delete the Spokeo-generated comment that I wrote about in Spokeo, Round Two.

This is V___, Director of Public Relations for Spokeo. It has come to the attention of Spokeo that the comment located on the following article: by "Sheryl" were posted by a former employee and are in violation of Spokeo's blogging policy.
Due to this violation, we would like to request a retraction of the comments posted by this user/these users. Any views or opinions previously entered by this user are solely those of the user and do not represent those of Spokeo.
Please let me know if these comments can be deleted by your team.  I look forward to hearing from you.

I was thinking it over until I saw this article in the New York Times: 

FTC Levies First Fine Over Internet Data

Remember, to get your personal data off Spokeo, you have to make multiple requests at the rate of one per day, page by page, email address by email address (that is, YOUR email address), until you get rid of all of Spokeo's pages related to you. I don't even know what you do about telephone numbers. That's how it was when I first posted about Spokeo, anyway.

So here's what I think:

* A company that collects unverified data on individuals and posts it, let alone sells it, is screwing the public.  

* A company that wants to hide its own mistakes when its business is revealing those of others is doesn't merit any kind of courtesy from bloggers.

* A company that tries to throw blame on former employees, as if the whole problem was their fault, is ... well, what do YOU think?  

Among other things, it's lying. The NYT says this:
The FTC charged that ... Spokeo created fake endorsements of its service and posted those comments on news and technology Web sites and blogs. The commission said the comments were made up by Spokeo’s own employees.
That's right, "Sheryl's" job was and is a major part of its business strategy.  She wasn't a renegade and probably is still working there.

Honestly, what a bunch of jerks.  

Anyone with a financial stake in this company should be stricken from every guest list, club, and dinner party, unfriended, de-listed, blackballed, and shunned for the next [NAME YOUR NUMBER] years.

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