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This Website Is Stalking You, and It's Partially Your Fault

This website knows where you live, your hobbies, and how much money you make, and you probably helped it learn some of that.


If he was like mine, your grandfather always said "the computers" were going to get too powerful one day. Frighteningly, finally, the old men may be right.

Founded in 2006, Spokeo began as a social network aggregator whose deep web-searching tools allowed people to keep tabs on their friends' various online profiles. The site's innocent origins, however, gave way to a creepier reality when it was discovered that it was a really great way to wrangle a lot of different, intimate information about a person into one place. What it's become since—Spokeo 5.0 was launched in November of 2010—is a strange amalgamation of information about where people live (complete with pictures of their homes via Google Maps), how much money they make, how to reach them on the phone, and who their relatives are. Were that not enough, just last month Spokeo added a section to their site that allows users to cull information using what you may have thought was an anonymous social networking handle like "Mark534" or "PennyLane86."

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