The Washington Post: You’ve probably never heard of this creepy genealogy site. But it knows a lot about you.
Early Tuesday morning, Anna Brittain got a text from her sister: Did she know about Familytreenow.com? The relatively unknown site, which presents itself as a free genealogy resource, seemed to know an awful lot about her.
“The site listed my 3- and 5-year-olds as ‘possible associates,’ ” Brittain, a 30-year-old young-adult fiction writer in Birmingham, Ala., told The Washington Post on Tuesday. Her sister, a social worker who works at a child advocacy center, found the site while doing a regular Internet footprint checkup on herself. “Given the danger level of my sister’s occupation,” Brittain added, the depth of information available on the genealogy site “scared me to death.”
There are many “people search” sites and data brokers out there, like Spokeo, or Intelius, that also know a lot about you. This is not news, at least for the Internet-literate. And the information on FamilyTreeNow comes largely from the public records and other legally accessible sources that those other data brokers use. What makes FamilyTreeNow stand out on the creepy scale, though, is how easy the site makes it for anyone to access that information all at once, and free.[…]
Photo credit: Screenshot/Familytreenow.com