Man Claims ‘People Search’ Site Spokeo Harmed His Job Hunt

Source: Susanna Kim / ABC News

While people willingly share personal information on social media sites such as Facebook, one Virginia man claims in a lawsuit that “people finder” sites like Spokeo.com aggregate personal information to the point of being “harmful” in his attempt to find a job.

Ben Richman, an attorney for Thomas Robins, of Vienna, Va., said a decision issued this week by a court of appeals, which allows the 2011 case to move forward, represents a broader shift in the legal landscape, in which courts are putting greater emphasis on protecting consumer privacy and the right to control one’s information.

“People have a right to keep their information private,” Richman said.

Robins claims that “inaccurate” information in his Spokeo.com profile, which the site aggregated from publicly available information, “caused actual harm” to his employment prospects, according to his complaint filed in 2011. He alleges that the site acts as a consumer reporting agency, despite Spokeo’s denial that it is. Robins, thereby, accuses Spokeo of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to provide the proper notices that credit reporting agencies such as Experian are required to provide.

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