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Give your email address, and you may be sharing much more than that

Its no surprise that once you give your email address to someone, it may be shared, sold and re-sold, added to so called “opt-in” marketing lists, burring your inbox with a mountain of spam in the future.

However, it’s worse than that! By giving your email address to someone, you disclose much more than that. A a company called “FullContact” has developed “clever” software that can match your email address with your name, your address, which company you work for, how much you earn and other highly personal information. [A link to their opt-out form is given below]

They openly advertise their services and offer it as an API service. So businesses provide their lists of email addresses and return with all kinds of data that they have on these emails, some of this data is much more than you would normally want share.

So for example, you give them an email address such as bigyoada99@example.com, they may return with the person’s name, what websites they own, demographics including age and location, lists of social profiles and more. It’s quite frighting how much information they can hold on you just from your email address.

Which makes you wonder – how did they manage to get all this info on you? Unfortunately, the business of re-selling contact is getting more slimy and advanced and there are many tricks they can use to collect this. After digging around on their website, we could not find where they list their sources or how they collect this information.

This is yet another reason for why you should use a disposable email address service like Guerrilla Mail – and protect your privacy from websites that you do not trust yet.

As for “Full Contact”, the have an opt-out feature where you can give them your email address and ask them to remove your info from their databases.

See the opt-out form here: http://www.fullcontact.com/privacy/claim/

Whenever they honor their promise is yet to be proven.

  1. Bart Lorang posted on May 7, 2013:

    Hey, GuerrillaMail folks –

    I’m Bart Lorang – CEO of FullContact. We believe in transparency, so I wanted to correct some misconceptions and put a few thoughts out in the open.

    1. FullContact takes privacy extremely seriously. You can read more about our 5 Laws of Privacy at the following link: http://www.fullcontact.com/blog/fullcontact-five-laws-of-privacy/

    2. We’re not in the business of selling private contact data – we return only publicly-available data. We don’t disclose email addresses, phone numbers, or other “highly personal information” – and we definitely don’t return your address or how much you earn, as the above article states.

    3. As mentioned in our 5 Laws of Privacy, your private data is *private* – and if you want to opt-out of our system (or to be sure we get your contact data correct), great! You can claim your email address and opt out at the following link: http://www.fullcontact.com/privacy/claim/. And YES – we honor all opt-out requests.

    Best of luck,

    Bart Lorang

  2. admin posted on July 12, 2013:

    Of course, we do not claim that FullContact does bad, but there are many others who do bad and people should be aware that they disclose much more when they disclose their email address and that is the point of the article.

    However, we are concerned about FullContact’s API service which can be used to ban disposable email providers. Because the public are hampered form using disposable emails, their right to privacy is diminished thanks to the API service provided by FullContact. It seems like your API service works against the interest of the users who you claim to protect.

    If a user is using a disposable email, that means that they can implicitly opt-out from everything, without the need to visit FullContact, or any other FullContact-like site, including the bad ones.

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