Matthew wrote in to complain about a new website called Spokeo, which sounds like a stalker’s dream: it sucks up all the entries in your address book, then returns a Big Brothery smorgasbord of all the publicly accessible accounts and services linked to each email address, along with updates any time something happens. It might surprise you to see just how easy it is for someone to assemble a picture of your Internet footprint with only an email address.
Don’t like the sound of that? Luckily for you, someone has already been inspired to follow Spokeo’s model and create a tool—Identifight—that lets you track your own email address to see what shows up, so you can patch up privacy leaks.
It’s amazing, really, that someone didn’t think to aggregate “public personal” data like this before. Flock sort of does it, but it’s an entire web browser, and it only uses your own accounts’ buddy lists in a very unsneaky way.
If you’re like Matthew and want zero visibility on your accounts, you’re going to have to do some low-tech account manipulation, like using custom addresses for each service so that no two accounts share the same address.
“Spokeo, the Big Brother of social networking” [Pandia]