Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Internet has given rise to a dizzying array of people-search sites and data brokers that gather and compile public information and social-networking profiles. The sites gather information from public sources such as property records and telephone listings, and other information is harvested by “scraping” — or copying — websites where people post information about themselves.

The fact that the information is from public records or posted on the Internet generally means that the companies have a right to use it. And many of the firms emphasize that the data will still be available in public records or elsewhere online, even if the information is removed from specific sites. As long as the source of the information remains available, it can simply be scraped again. But determined consumers willing to navigate the maze of companies have some options for requesting that their data be removed from certain sites...