In the United States just about any personal information you provide on a form, application, public document, voter registration, retail store rewards card, sweepstakes entry, magazine subscription, court records, and even marriage & divorce records plus a growing number of other types of data are considered public records.
are documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. TheFreedom of information legislation aka Freedom of Information Act
comprises laws that guarantee access to data held by the state. They establish a "right-to-know" legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions. Also variously referred to as open records
or (especially in the United States) sunshine laws, governments are also typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. The U.S government has access to billions of records, many of which are considered public.
Online Information websites sell (or give freely) the personal information of individuals typically obtained from public records (as indicated above) as well as premium or proprietary records obtained from third party data aggregators. These data aggregators obtain data from thousands of sources and can include a myriad of personal information
These online information brokers (also known asdata brokers
) gather personal information from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records. Some information brokers also offer the ability to conduct social searches which gather information by searching public profiles on social networking sites and from various other internet sites where data is readily available.
The practice of locating information in published white pages and public records and displaying them on web sites is not illegal; there are hundreds of data broker web sites
you can visit. Some include opt-out instructions.
Here is more information regarding data brokers: http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm
Public officials the right to have their personal information blocked. A Public official in California is defined in California Government Code Sections 6254.21 and 6254.24.
For purposes of this section, "elected or appointed official" includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) State constitutional officers.
(2) Members of the Legislature.
(3) Judges and court commissioners.
(4) District attorneys.
(5) Public defenders.
(6) Members of a city council.
(7) Members of a board of supervisors.
(8) Appointees of the Governor.
(9) Appointees of the Legislature.
(11) City attorneys.
(12) Police chiefs and sheriffs.
(13) A public safety official, as defined in Section 6254.24.
(14) State administrative law judges.
(15) Federal judges and federal defenders.
(16) Members of the United States Congress and appointees of the President.
(17) Sworn and non-sworn employees of a city police department, a county sheriff's office, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, federal, state, and local detention facilities, and local juvenile halls, camps, ranches, and homes, who submit agency verification that, in the normal course of their employment, they control or supervise inmates or are required to have a prisoner in their care or custody.
SearchBug does not manage a public records database, however they do offer free removal from their white page listings which do get updated periodically. Individuals are free to check back and remove white page listings whenever they appear. To block your listings on Searchbug click on help
and then click on "People Finder".
Help and Instructions
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Opt Out Info