Website sued for selling individuals' financial, personal data

15:34, July 21, 2010      

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A Washington, D.C. resident has filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court against a website which is allegedly selling financial and personal information about individuals without their consent.

In the proposed class-action lawsuit, Tom Robins alleges that violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act(FCRA) by collecting data from online and traditional sources and publishing the information.

The website allows Internet users to search for anyone by name, e-mail address or phone number. According to the allegation, Spokeo provides searchers with in-depth consumer reports, including the person's address, marital status, age, occupation, wealth level and a credit/economic health estimate.

Spokeo makes much of the information available for free, but reserves the most detailed and personal information for paid subscribers, Robins contended.

The information about him available on Spokeo is mostly inaccurate and false, and the data is marketed to employers at a time when Robins is looking for a job, he said.

The plaintiff seeks for injunctive relief and monetary damages for violating the FCRA.

A message from Xinhua seeking comment on the matter has not been been returned.

The Pasadena, a California-based portal, alleged on its website that Spokeo is a search engine specialized in organizing people-related information from phone books, social networks, marketing lists, business sites, and other public sources. All data aggregated is derived from public sources.

Spokeo's innovative algorithm can piece together scattered data into coherent people profiles, giving you the most comprehensive intelligence about anyone any Internet users want to find, it said.

Millions of people have already used Spokeo, the portal claimed.



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