How to Opt Out of the Most Popular People Search Sites

I have written recently about Family Tree Now and, two web sites that claim to be genealogy services. In reality, these two sites and many others simply gather public domain information about you and everyone else, then sell your personal information to anyone willing to pay for it. Addresses, family members, and known associates are available for anyone to find.

You can demand these sites remove your personal information from their databases, however, by “opting out.” Writing in the LifeHacker web site, Patric Allan describes how to “opt out” from Family Tree Now, Whitepages, Spokeo, and other popular free people search engines. You can find his article at:

COMMENT: While these procedures probably will remove your personal information from the sites mentioned, going through this effort strikes me as being similar to fighting a forest fire with a drinking straw. Dozens of these web sites that sell your personal information already exist and new ones seem to appear daily. I doubt if you can remove your data from ALL of the present and future web sites that sell this stuff. There are simply too many of them.


Removing yourself from sites that aggregate public records is a hopeless task. After all, these are public records. Where would we genealogists be without them? If you don’t want to leave a paper trail don’t buy property, don’t get married, have an unlisted phone number, arrange to be born in a state with that doesn’t have open birth records, don’t run afoul of the law, don’t do anything (good or bad) that will get you mentioned in news media, make sure your friends don’t tag you in social media…oh heck, just give up living.


    The problem is, a lot of the information has reportedly come from the OPM breech of security clearances. Much more detailed than just public records, as evidenced what the people in my office are seeing.


You can’t stop public records. In the age of computers & internet if someone wants to find you and about you it’s there to find.


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