Hey everybody, now you can run free background checks on friends and co-workers and family members and random acquaintances right from your phone! That's great right? What? It's weird? Well, yes, sure. Welcome to modern life.
Background Check by Been Verified hit Android today for the first time, and returned to the iTunes Store. Apple had previously pulled it via privacy concerns. It lets you run a background check on anyone based on their name or email address, and checks for relatives, property records, criminal history and social media footprint. You get one free report a month. Extras cost $.99 each, or you can buy a 20 pack for $9.99
When I ran the check on myself it found my previous address, but not my very new one, discovered an alarming number of my relatives, and failed to find my criminal history (a DUI that is now nearly 20 years old). It found my photos on Flickr, my Amazon wishlist, my public Foursquare records, Vimeo, Picassa, and Stumbleupon accounts. It even found hoary old accounts I don't really use much anymore, or at all, like iLike, Pandora, Bebo, and MySpace. It grabbed approximately twelve bajillion photos of me (with many, many false positives) and even more web links.
In short, it was amazingly comprehensive.
This app has been called creepy. Repeatedly. It's not. It's weird, and new, and perhaps a little unnerving, but it's not creepy. It's just sadly modern.
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There is all this information floating around that is publicly available. It just happens to be information about people. Everything it found about me was also available with a Google sleuthing. It just did it faster and automatically. That's all.
We live in the information age. Short of living off the grid in a Kaczynski shack, it's nearly impossible to not leave a data trail. This concept is going to take some getting used to. But it's a fact of life.
The app is free.