How to spy on all your friends online


by Leon
11th December, 2007 at 11:19 pm    

In a slight digression from the usual current affairs and political debate I thought I’d share this latest find with you. Seeing as us Picklers are on the cutting edge of digital social innovations (stop laughing at the back) I figure this would be of interest.

Allow me to introduce Spokeo, it’s simply a news feed (think Facebook’s mini feed of what app your mates have added or events they’re attending etc) of all the things you’re friends are doing publicly online.

Everything.

If you have their email address (it scans your contacts) you can see whenever they post on Digg, add photos to Flickr, do something on MySpace and a whole host of other sites in one unified news feed.

It’s utterly amazing and terrifying all at the same time!

Update: Harrison from Spokeo has posted a good comment about the site and privacy:

Spokeo can only find stuff that you have access to. For example, if you can find a friend on Flickr, you can do so on Spokeo. If you cannot search for someone’s Blogger, you cannot do that on Spokeo. The reason why Spokeo can find so much for you is that your friends are sharing tons of stuff online. Previously without Spokeo, it’s very easy to overlook these publicly shared data. Now, they are cleanly organized and presented in front of you.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Technology






33 Comments below   |  

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  1. Clairwil — on 11th December, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    Yuck! I feel violated.

  2. Leon — on 11th December, 2007 at 11:23 pm  

    It’s freaky!

  3. douglas clark — on 11th December, 2007 at 11:30 pm  

    Thank goodness my e-mail address ain’t out there to be seen. Or, is it?

  4. Leon — on 12th December, 2007 at 12:03 am  

    Heh every time you post on here those of us with the right level of admin controls can see your email.

    It’s amazing when you start to look into it just how many pieces of ourselves we leave strewn across the net…and just as I write this The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ is playing on The Sopranos! How neat is that? :D

  5. Sid — on 12th December, 2007 at 12:21 am  

    that’s amazing and now i’m genuinely scared.

  6. Clairwil — on 12th December, 2007 at 12:23 am  

    This is worse than fear I feel when I wake up after a hard nights drink-commenting.

  7. Sid — on 12th December, 2007 at 12:35 am  

    haha

  8. douglas clark — on 12th December, 2007 at 2:50 am  

    Leon @ 4,

    Bloody hell.

    And I’d never seen you as a power enabled proto fascist before ;-)

    Still, the forces of darkness – ‘feel the power Luke’ – will be after you guys first, I guess. Then they’ll come after the likes of Clairwil and me. And we’ll just run away. I’ll probably adopt a pseudonym, douglas clark sounds good…..

    That’ll fool them.

  9. pounce — on 12th December, 2007 at 3:00 am  

    I suppose if I was a fan of reality TV shows then I’d join up. Myself I’ll give it a miss just like I give every attempt for me to join a social website a miss. Far too many people watching me on a day to day basis why should I allow more. (kind of explains why I am on Cat 5 and not wifi)

  10. douglas clark — on 12th December, 2007 at 3:20 am  

    Anyway,

    Thread Hijack alert!

    As we are getting to year round up time, I’d like to put up a post about those we have lost along the way. Personally, I miss the insights of:

    Anas

    K Newton

    Some woman that ripped apart the notion that it was God what did it – what was her name, and who was she?

    That Muslim guy with the beard that wrote a whole lot of sense, started a web site and then went away. Probably to finish a PhD. He was that bright.

    There must be dozens more who have come and gone. And hopefully impressed you with their wit or erudition. Answers on a postcard please. clark184@btinternet.com

    Who do you miss?

    Contrary to Ms Newtons’ opinion, it is in fact she that I miss the most. But the dark side must have it’s attractions.

    Obviously, as a mere citizen, I’d not get your e-mail address. Or, if I did I’d destroy it.

  11. Harrison from Spokeo — on 12th December, 2007 at 5:12 am  

    Thank you, Leon, for trying out Spokeo. While I am quite flattered to hear that you are amazed by Spokeo, I would like to demystify what we can actually do.

    Spokeo can only find stuff that you have access to. For example, if you can find a friend on Flickr, you can do so on Spokeo. If you cannot search for someone’s Blogger, you cannot do that on Spokeo. The reason why Spokeo can find so much for you is that your friends are sharing tons of stuff online. Previously without Spokeo, it’s very easy to overlook these publicly shared data. Now, they are cleanly organized and presented in front of you.

    We are in the middle of a digital revolution. More and more people are spending time and sharing stuff online. Spokeo is just a reader that makes you aware of what’s happening around you.

  12. Sunny — on 12th December, 2007 at 5:24 am  

    Cooooool!

    I’m so gonna try this out… hehe. Nice one Harrison :)

  13. Harrison from Spokeo — on 12th December, 2007 at 6:08 am  

    Yeah, try it out and send me what you think :)

    Our servers have been hammered by Techcrunch for the past two days. We were forced to deny thousands of new registrations. Things have calmed down a little now. If you or anyone still has a problem, just email me at harrison@spokeo.com

  14. Desi Italiana — on 12th December, 2007 at 6:24 am  

    “Personally, I miss the insights of–”

    I miss Raza and Kismet Hardy… :(

    ***

    Douglas, now that you have posted your e-mail address, I am going to check up on you…

  15. douglas clark — on 12th December, 2007 at 6:49 am  

    Desi Italiana,

    Douglas, now that you have posted your e-mail address, I am going to check up on you…

    Ooh, you are going to be so disappointed. And probably bored. Serves Nosey Parkers everywhere right. Most of us are really quite dull. If you find anything really juicy let me know….it would be quite fun to discover I’ve got an alter ego.

    Agreed about Raza, not so sure Kismet has stopped posting, although he was funny as hell. Need to check that out.

  16. faz — on 12th December, 2007 at 9:56 am  

    Man, thats some freaky shit. Must hide under my duvet quickly.

  17. Sofia — on 12th December, 2007 at 10:45 am  

    yeh i miss kismet’s words of “wisdom”…always manages to infuriate and make me laugh at the same time…

  18. sonia — on 12th December, 2007 at 11:15 am  

    are you suggesting you can view photos uploaded to flickr that are tagged private?!

  19. Leon — on 12th December, 2007 at 11:36 am  

    Hi Harrison from Spokeo,

    Cheers for dropping by. Apologies if I’ve inadvertently given the wrong impression about your site, this post was more tongue in cheek than anything.

    Once you get past the initial WOW factor you (and read the About Us) you can quite clearly see there’s nothing particularly frightening about it.

  20. Jai — on 12th December, 2007 at 11:44 am  

    Who do you miss?

    *Jai raises a glass of lassi while wearing a tie-dyed paisley-print bandana*

    “I’d like to send a shout-out to all the desis who couldn’t be here today…..”

    Katy N is the obvious choice, as Doogie has obviously said, obviously. I remember Rakhee being very amusing as well.

    However, I see that Sunny has now assassinated Jagdeep too. As if “whacking” Jay Singh wasn’t bad enough, yo.

  21. Leon — on 12th December, 2007 at 12:20 pm  

    :D

    Hehe Katy is still about and posts very occasionally.

    Jag hasn’t been on for a few weeks but comes on in bursts.

    No idea whatever happened to Jay Singh; he was one of my favourite posters, damn shame he’s still not around.

    Kismet’s probably just hungover somewhere from a weekend of drug induced orgying…:P

  22. Sid — on 12th December, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

    I miss Amir because he was contentious but smart. As opposed to our present spate of resident trolls who are just abrasive deadenders.

  23. Desi Italiana — on 12th December, 2007 at 5:57 pm  

    “I miss Amir because he was contentious but smart. As opposed to our present spate of resident trolls who are just abrasive deadenders.”

    And Amir wasn’t an “abrasive deadener”? ;)

  24. bananabrain — on 12th December, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

    no, he wasn’t, except very rarely when he got too annoyed to avoid getting personal – which a lot of other people do here, as well, hence my previous criticism of the level of civility and politeness. he was smart, but it just got too heated from all sides if you ask me.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  25. Desi Italiana — on 12th December, 2007 at 7:14 pm  

    “no, he wasn’t, except very rarely when he got too annoyed to avoid getting personal”

    Er… I think that is subjective. I guess the definition of “abrasive deadner” depends on each person…

  26. Don — on 12th December, 2007 at 7:37 pm  

    Amir started as a worthwhile contributor, although shockingly dishonest in his techniques, but eventually lost it. I wish him well, but towards the end he clearly needed to walk away from the key-board.

    Of course Kismet is still around, although less deranged than was his wont.

    Vikrant only drops in from time to time, but the lad is no doubt swamped by his studies. I expect great things from him in due course.

    Katy is the big loss, and I notice her blog is no longer side-barred.

    What about Colonel Mustapha? An early star of PP, for those who remember.

  27. Rohin — on 13th December, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    I third missing Jay Singh’s absence. He literally vanished.

    Yes good call also Don on Colonel Mustafa – funny guy. Also mad.

    I never really got to know Katy; she arrived after I started work and didn’t spend hours each day on the InterWeb.

  28. Sid — on 13th December, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

    yeah Amir was an abrasive deadender in his latter days. He was also a full on Islamophobe and a bit of a turd, come to think of it. But he was a smart abrasive deadender, Islamophobe and loveable turd. But smarts is always redeeming.

  29. Leon — on 13th December, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Meh…I don’t really miss Amir. I still chat occasionally with Katy elsewhere (and enjoy her status updates).

    I sorta remember Colonel Mustafa although not clearly which is odd because I’ve been here since week 1. Strange…

  30. Belinder — on 13th December, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    Spkeo..omg this stuff is crazy! So you can track all your friends’ activities online?!?! Why would anyone want to do that?! It’s it bordering on obsessive/ stalker behaviour?! Whatever next? B xx

    p.s. it’s like one of things you try to resist for ages and end up joining, like facebook!! argghhh!!

  31. Belinder — on 13th December, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    apologies for typos! B

  32. Leon — on 13th December, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    it’s like one of things you try to resist for ages and end up joining, like facebook!!

    I’m sure the people behind it love hearing things like that! :D

  33. Belinder — on 13th December, 2007 at 4:47 pm  

    Yeah I bet Leon! I bet! I think the thing with the web is you really are never anonymous..and now we have these spokee peeps..!

    Look what I read on their website though!

    ‘What if I want to leave Spokeo?

    We’re sorry you feel that way! Everyone here is very receptive to new ideas, so we greatly encourage you to talk to us about any possible difficulty.’

    Loll!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are trapped foreveerrrr!! B

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