If you`ve ever googled your name, it`s sometimes funny to see things from your past that will pop up.
What if all that information though is on one website and could be found by one click?
Andrew Hacker, a cyber security expert at Harrisburg Univerisity, says technology pretty much there.
“Seeing all that information about me in one spot at one time was very scary.”
Hacker is talking about FamilyTreeNow.com, a site that claims to be ‘100% free family tree and genealogy research.’
If you search yourself on the site, you`ll likely find your name, age, and address.
That`s not much different from similar websites.
What is different though, is the possible connections sections.
People are reporting anyone from a brother in law to an ex-girlfriend may make the list.
If you`ve lived in more than one place, that`s probably listed too.
“Having all the different addresses that I’ve lived since I was a kid, you know, that’s not information that’s available to anyone and it shouldn’t be,” said Hacker,
Hacker says having this information is scary because it`s free.
Meaning, it`s hard to trace who is looking at your info.
While yes, most of the info is public record you could get at a county courthouse, that takes effort and leaves a paper trail.
What`s even more concerning, hacker says, is how the website is obtaining the data.
He says the information under his name – reminds him of a credit report.
“Last I could remember I had to give permission for someone to actually pull my credit report. So that’s where it gets concerning.”
That`s where hacker thinks data brokers come in.
These are companies collect and maintain data on consumers.
The info can be sold without your permission.
“They pay for different databases whether it’s your credit report, DMV records or things like that.”
Here are some highlights: the website states it does collect info from ‘trusted third parties’ but wouldn`t list what those third parties are.
Also, Family Tree Now says it collects information when users interact with features on the website.
It also claims to collect your IP address, device identifier browser type, operating system and mobile carrier when you log on.
There is an opt out section on the website – to remove your info.
Hacker though has some concerns.
Since the website uses third parties, even if you opt out on this website – he has a concern the same info could be on dozens of other sites.
“If this site is posting this information for free then certainly there are lots of other people who can get access to it to,” said Hacker.
Right now, it appears the website is totally legal.
Hacker says this is a prime example of why our lawmakers need to take a look at our current privacy laws.
“I think there really does need to be some kind of legal intervention or legislation that can at least define for the industry of what they should be doing because right now there’s really no protection whatsoever.”
The Better Business Bureau shows Dustin Weirich is the creator of the site.
We tried to email him to confirm that and never got a response back.
FOX43 also contacted the website to ask how they received their information or for any comment on the backlash and again, never got a response.