For Sale: Children's Private Info
Company Legally Sells Children's Information
Last Updated: 3223 days ago
Did you know that your child's private information is for sale? Did you know that it's legal?List companies, including one in San Diego County, are selling children's personal information and some parents are concerned for their child's safety.Like most parents, the Gaddies monitor what their children see and do. They were alarmed more than a year ago when their then 4-year-old son, Jeremiah, started receiving book club offers.Jeremy Gaddie, Jeremiah's father, said, "It kinda freaked me out, because I'm thinking, 'Why is a 4-year-old receiving mail already?'"The Gaddies, who had subscribed to a different book club, found out that their information had been shared.Kim Vahle, Jeremiah's mother, said, "It's scary to know your child's name is up for grabs for anybody."The Gaddies are not alone, according to 10News. Across the country, children's personal information are appearing on lists and being sold. Parents often have no clue where that information is headed.The fact is, anyone who wants the information can have it, as long as they pay for it.Last spring, a television station in Portland contacted The List Guy, an Oceanside-based list broker. The station paid $360 to buy a list containing the names and addresses of 3,000 children in the Portland area. According to 10News, they used the name Ward Weaver, a man accused of killing two Oregon girls.Privacy advocates said the implications are chilling.Jordana Beebe, a privacy rights advocate, said, "I'm aghast to find out that list brokers are giving out information to whoever asks for it all for the bottom line."The real bottom line, say list brokers, is that lists are safe.Russ Guillemot is the founder of The List Guy and defended the lists as vital marketing tools. He said screening clients would not be cost effective.Meanwhile, privacy groups are lobbying new legislation in Congress that would ban the peddling of information without parental consent. Guillemot calls the plan unnecessary and unfair.One parent thinks Guillemot's attitude is reckless."That's really hard to take as a parent. What if that one person, who gets a hold of a name, is a predator?" said the parent.The proposed legislation will be considered by Congress this fall.Meanwhile, privacy experts said much of the information is gathered through public records, like birth records and the census.If you have a complaint about companies that may be sharing your child's information, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/.