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Privacy violation of personal information posted on the internet

Huntington Beach, CA |

When I do an online search of my name, personal information such as age and address appears from a link to a site called Advanced Background Checks. When I inquired with the site as to how to remove the information, they said I will need to fill out a form, mail it in and wait for 7 business days for the information to be removed. Well, seven business days is too long for me to wait. I am applying for jobs and I do not wish to have my age broadcast on the internet. I asked if there is anything they could do to remove it immediately and they refused. I explained that I had not authorized for them to broadcast this information. They said the information is public so they are not doing anything wrong. This does not seem right to me. Again, my problem is that they will not cooperate with me to remove it immediately. Could you please advise? Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

There is very little success with these types of suits. One problem you have is that the information about you on this site is all public record information, such as name, age, address and even telephone number. There is no legal expectation of privacy in this information. Therefore, a lawsuit for i.e., Invasion of Privacy etc. will not be successful. The site is under no legal obligation to remove it either. They offer these forms as a way to appease people, but were you to sue them for not following through, I'm not sure you'd be successful. You can get a lawyer to send them a legal letter, but most will tell you the futility--it's like trying to unspread butter. There are many many sites like this, and whitepages.com and simple internet searches will reveal this info.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you very much for your response. So, I will send the form and wait for the indicated timeframe of seven days to pass before seeking legal action. Even though it is public information, it seems like there should be some kind of safeguard against it appearing in search engine results. Thanks again for your response, it was very helpful.

Golnar Sargeant

Golnar Sargeant

Posted

There is no legal expectation of privacy in the information, and therefore, it is not illegal to have it on the sites or search engines, that is probably why no safeguards exist. I would be very surprised if a lawsuit was successful.

Posted

I agree. The information is public record. Employes can't discriminate based on age...

This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.

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Posted

While I am aware that employees can't discriminate based on age, they can easily eliminate prospective job applicants based on age when it is broadcast so blatantly on the internet via google search of one's name. In today's tough job market, that really puts applicants at a disadvantage.

Posted

Your name, age, address, telephone number, and other things are generally considered public information. The website might be willing to remove the information from their site, but it is undoubtedly on some other website. Since it is public information, even if they agree to take it off their site, you will probably not prevail in any lawsuit against them if they don't.

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Posted

I agree with the answers put forth by my colleagues. I would add that the answer would be different if the information about you on the internet was beyond just your "business card information" (i.e. name, address, telephone number). For example, if the information about you was personal health information (defined in HIPAA), then the answer may change.

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Posted

Thank you for this information. Where would disclosing a person's age on the internet fall under the law? This is not basic contact information, and in some cases it can greatly hinder a job seeker's efforts

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