As part of ongoing expansion of BestBackgroundChecks.com, we recently ran a basic background check on a new writer / researcher. This is not only to vet the contractor, but is also part of the continuous testing process. And, if you have never seen what is on an employment background check, you would be surprised at the deep level of detail employment reports contain.
Just for kicks, do a background check on yourself, to see what is out there. You see…that information about other people that you read all the time, feels almost surreal when it concerns yourself. Employment services which require a Social Security Number and name return unbelievable detailed records. For starters, I am able to find the current address of a person, their phone number, and if they own the house they are living in. I can even get the appraised value of that house and the names of everyone living at that address. Plus, you can find the address history for that house including the last 10 years.
I can also acquire the addresses of the 10 homes that are nearest to that one, and the neighbors names and phone numbers. Then one can also acquire the “family and neighbors” for each address listed on the background check. This may even go all the way back to their birth. One can even read about every car they’ve owned , each house, boat, aircraft, firearm, each traffic ticket, creditor, and even bank account. For those who have never heard of an employment background check, this is also to give you an idea of the scope of employment services.
All this information can be acquired through a few different consumer reports which include DMV records and public records, which aren’t always accessible. While running background checks and conducting research, I am acutely aware of the mind boggling amount of data that is only one or two steps away from the public record: every Web search, every “friend”, every wall post, every blog comment. How easily that data can leak and then be aggregated, indexed, cross-referenced, re-sold, re-re-sold and shared. It never goes away.
In Europe there are data-protection laws which must be adhered to when digging the dirt on someone else. However, here in the United States, the company that collected “your” data, or most recently purchased it, owns it. You have no claim, moral, property or legal over your data. In Europe, by contrast, you own data that pertains to your person and the companies holding it are merely “custodians”. As custodians they must report their data practices and conform to certain principles of protection. Ultimately, you have the right to see the data about you, to correct it and in many cases to remove it from the custodians’ databases.
So, if you are really curious about privacy and public records, run a background check on yourself with an online provider that can be trusted (there aren’t many). Many people complain about not being able to find any information, However, I think that one you see what’s out there, you will probably want to see stronger privacy laws. I think the most important principles needed in such laws are: data about you, should belong to you. You should be able to see it, correct it and remove it. Any privacy law that does not give you some ownership over your data is fundamentally flawed. Go to the directory home page and scroll to the bottom for a list of background check services that I recommend.
Categories: Personal Background Check