/ Technology

Are you listed on 192.com?

Have you ever googled yourself? Maybe that’s narcissistic, but I prefer the term curious. Your Twitter profile may come up, but your search might also uncover 192.com – a website listing much of your personal data.

Mine did. In fact, take out the social media profiles, and it was the first Google result. And once I clicked on 192.com, it came up with six results for little old me – including addresses, other occupants of the property I lived in, and the year I was on the Electoral Roll – all in a handy spreadsheet.

Granted, not all the results for my name were actually me, but the search tool is flexible, and can be refined, such as by other household occupants or age range.

In fact, 192.com boasts that it gives you a complete profile of any person found on its site. A typical free profile includes ‘full name, current address, age guide, phone number (where available), property prices and even an aerial photo of their house’.

Interested in the other residents of their property, or neighbours? Or how much they paid for their house? Pay for premium content, from as little as 25p per search, and you can find all of this out – and more.

Where did 192.com get your data?

The information comes from various public data sources, including the Electoral Roll, Directory Enquiries and Directors Database. If you wish to opt-out of 192.com publishing your name and address, you can print out an online PDF and send it to the company.

However, this opt-out service gives you only two options – either sending a letter or a fax. Personally, I haven’t faxed something since my work experience days eight years ago – so it doesn’t appear the most user-friendly way. Why can’t you send them an email?

Taking data from the Electoral Roll and using it this way is the business model many marketing companies and online directories (like 192.com) use. And they’re allowed to use it legally. But should the personal data they hold be available quite so freely for anybody to see and buy?

Did you give 192.com your consent?

Take a look at 192.com’s privacy policy and the company will assure you that it’s ‘committed to protecting the privacy of our users’. One way 192.com says it does this is by only using data for ‘which we have your consent’.

But how exactly does it have your consent? I, for one, do not remember giving mine – and I didn’t know it held so many details about me until I started browsing the site in more depth.

Our legal expert Georgina Nelson had this to say about 192.com:

‘The traditional idea of the Yellow Pages – which a few years ago might have provided a person’s name, address and number – seems to have ratcheted up a key or two, and the business model of online directories like 192.com is in providing “value and depth” in data over and above these expectations.

‘Yet, how far will these companies go in their hunt for our personal details? What will they get their hands on in the future? And is there anything to really stop them publishing them online for the world to see?’

Have you heard of 192.com before, and now you know it exists, do you think it’s right that this website is allowed to display your personal data in such detail?

Comments
Guest
joshua says:
13 March 2013

I have faxed over the form for removal of details from the local library and emailed about 30 times. My details still appear on Google, even though I did not sign the electoral form this year or last! WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO FOR YOU TO REMOVE MY DETAILS 192.COM??????

Guest
Curlychick says:
1 November 2013

Joshua, You need to go to google and request the URL is removed.
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/164734?hl=en

I have had lots of agro with this company. There are lots of other companies like 192. but you have to register with them to get the information. You dont appear on google for all the world to see. I never gave my permission to use my details and it was from the 2002 electoral roll before you were allowed to opt out of appearing on the edited electoral roll. I reported them to the ICO for infringement of the Data Protection Act. If you serve them with a section 10 they are obliged to tell you what information they are holding on you. But they do not seem to know this and just chose to ignore. Report them casework@ico.org.uk, thats the email address for ICO.

Guest
samia says:
4 April 2013

i want to delete this 192.com account

Guest

Here’s how to get your details removed from 192.com: http://www.192.com/help/tools-guides/about-your-details/

Guest
Frazer Payne says:
4 August 2014

Patrick is just regurgitating the rubbish that 192 have put on their website, which pretends to be helpful, but forces the user to send a FAX or POSTAL FORM. 192.com should be shut down for invasion of privacy, and profiting from people’s data without their consent.

Guest
Suki3 says:
3 June 2018

?

Guest
Arthur Hunt says:
21 April 2013

Why should we ever have to ‘opt-out’ of anything? The law should be changed and positive consent should be required to ‘opt-in’ to anything – including giving permission for personal details to be published. If anyone ‘opts-in’ to having their details published that’s fair enough.

Making people having to opt-out of something they are probably not even aware they opted-in to is cheeky and arrogant, and so typical of these marketing types who assume they have the divine right to know everything about everybody – big brother is watching you.

I hope someone successfully sues these people for violation of privacy and fundamental human rights and there is a big publicity campaign to get these people closed down for ever, I hate my details being published and did manage to successfully get them removed but why should I have to?

Guest
Mike says:
27 April 2013

Sign up to stop all this – spread the word.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49104

Guest
Jessica says:
27 April 2013

Those people sell our data and mak