Is people search ethical?

All the information is already publicly available

All the information provided by people search tools is already publicly available. You could probably find it yourself, manually, if you’re willing to invest the time, effort and money required, and you’re very good at research.

The only difference is that with a people search tool, you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself. (And there’s a LOT of legwork. A good people search site scours literally billions of database records across dozens of databases. Some of these databases require you to pay for access, and some are very difficult to access and use.)

In other words, using a people search tool is just as ethical as contacting any of the organizations below and asking them for their publicly available records.

  • Most wanted lists
  • Police & court records
  • Debarred lists
  • Denied Persons List – Commerce Dept
  • Drug Enforcement Admin. Fugitives
  • Enforcement Actions – Federal Reserve
  • Enforcement Actions – Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • Enforcement Decisions and Orders – FDIC
  • EPA – Compliance Actions
  • EPA – Enforcement Actions (ECHO)
  • FBI Most Wanted
  • FBI Organized Crime Site
  • FBI Unknown Suspects
  • FDA – Enforcement Report
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator
  • Federal Firearms License Validator
  • Immigration & Customs Enforcement/Most Wanted
  • Missing & Exploited Children
  • Most Wanted Lists – Federal Agency Links
  • Most Wanted Lists – State, County, City Agency Links
  • Most Wanted Terrorists
  • National Sex Offender Registry Dept of Justice
  • NCIS (Naval) Most Wanted Fugitives List, Missing Persons
  • SEC Enforcement Actions
  • SEC Filings (EDGAR)
  • SEC Litigation and Opinions
  • Secret Service
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • U.S. Marshall’s Most Wanted
  • U.S. Tax Court – Docket Inquiry
  • State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs)
  • Vehicle manufacturers
  • Police & court records
  • Car dealerships
  • Rental & fleet companies
  • Vehicle & salvage auctions
  • Auto body mechanics
  • Vehicle service, maintenance & inspection workshops
  • Automotive insurance companies
  • Automotive extended warranty companies
  • Import / export agencies

It’s only unethical if you do something unethical with it

It’s not unethical to know something about someone; it’s only unethical if you use that information unethically.

If, for example, you plan to use the information to stalk or bully someone, then yes that’s completely unethical. Likewise, it’s unethical to use the information to steal from them, to steal their identity, or to gain their confidence in order to trick them into doing something they ordinarily wouldn’t do.

Only you can decide whether you plan to use the information for ethical purposes.

By Glenn Murray

Glenn is Super Easy’s General Manager, Communications. He plans and executes training programs, designs user experiences, conducts conversion rate experiments, sets our style and tone of voice, contributes to SEO implementation & strategy, and oversees important internal & external communications. He also manages our technical support team.Glenn lives on the Central Coast of Australia, just north of Sydney, and enjoys walking, reading, music, wine and craft beer.


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