Privacy and 192.com

192 Big Brother Watch has long been concerned about the rapid growth of the database state in the United Kingdom – a craze which threatens data security and invades privacy. 

The latest such manifestation of this phenomenon is the website 192.com. 

While the number '192' conjures up images of the telephone number one used to call in order to find out the mislaid telephone numbers of their friends, 192.com is a whole different kettle of fish.

The website prides itself on its ability to "tell you more about people, businesses & places in the UK than any other directory".  Indeed, aside from finding out telephone numbers, one can also (for a fee) access the individual credit risk reports of company directors, read court judgements and trawl the electoral roll to find people's home addresses.

Do take the time to look at the website and see if your personal information is being made publicly available on this website. 

Rather helpfully, 192.com has produced a guide as to how to have your details removed from the database.  Click here to view it.

By Daniel Hamilton.

Posted by on Oct 17, 2010 in Databases, Online privacy, Privacy | 20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. tim bull
    17th October 2010

    Thanks for the alert BBW – I found my name linked with my address, age and purchase price of my home.
    I have demanded that the information be removed from public view immediately, with the threat of a £ 1,000,000 damages claim.
    I really do hope they take it seriously. ;-)

    Reply
  2. Purlieu
    17th October 2010

    How does presenting publicly available information invade privacy ?

    Reply
  3. guy
    18th October 2010

    I think you are muddled about some things.
    Commercial databases are *not* the same as the database state, which is government by database. (Taking information from you by force of law, and/or using it to make official judgments on you.)
    192.com has been around for a decade. And it had earlier predecessors, including the notorious UKInfodisk on CD-ROM. If you had even bothered to look it up on Wikipedia before committing rant to blog, you would have discovered that. What it does is index publicly available information – some of which, such as the now online Land Register, and digitised electoral registers perhaps might count as the database state.
    Commercial database marketing and list vending has been around in sone form since the 1970s. It was described more in a highly developed form by Rapp & Collins in “Maximarketing” in the 1980s. It was one of the first uses of the commercialised internet in the mid-90s. It is not new.
    Those of us who worried about those things in the 80s used to make deliberate errors in our names addresses and dates of birth when filling in forms in order to frustrate datamatching. One of the products of the database state is that frustrating datamatching is now treated as, if not called, a criminal activity – ‘anti-money laundering’ (really tax-reporting), and other ID requirements mean you cannot do it.
    The database state is not the same as a commercial information service. But it does massively exacerbate the power of such services.
    @tim bull:
    They will laugh at you. What personal right do you think you do have (not should have) to constrain such processing and presentation of publicly available information? What legal wrong do you believe has benn done to you, and on what basis do you assess £1,000,000 damages? (If someone uses the information to sell your house from under you – which is not unknown – then the claim would lie against the Land Register.)

    Reply
  4. mydataismine
    18th October 2010

    To guy – just because personal data is available commercially does not mean that the individual has agreed to this or wants it. The problem lies with others having more rights over our personal data than we do ourselves. On one hand we are told to safeguard our data and on the other authorities and organisations are putting it out there so preventing us from protecting our data. A key reason why ID fraud is so prevalent is because our data is out there (often) without our consent. The fraudsters know this and they are having a ball because it is all made so easy for them.

    Reply
  5. vervet
    18th October 2010

    guy – do please chill – fancy commenting seriously on my ‘claim’ – I even added a winky-face to indicate silliness!
    The issue here is not one of publically available information – as a company director I accept that certain info is legally required to be published. The issue is of collating information from independent databases and publishing it in one place. As ‘mydataismine’ says, it just makes ID theft so much easier.

    Reply
  6. vervet
    18th October 2010

    “Identity theft costs Britain £2.7 billion”
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20101018/tuk-identity-theft-costs-britain-2-7-bil-dba1618.html

    Reply
  7. guy
    19th October 2010

    @vervet:
    The problem is publicly available information – and the manner of making it public. The model of open central registers, as with Companies House directors details, is ill- suited to an age of networked computers. It contributes directly to impersonation fraud as you point out, quite without the assistance of such outfits as 192.com. (Perhaps you will be more successful than I have been, in finding any substantiation of that headline £2.7 billion.)
    The current legal regime surrounding personal information is badly broken. The official culture even more so. Data protection law mostly addresses the wrong problems in the wrong way – incompletely so in the UK – and is arguably worse than useless.
    That isn’t helped by hopeless unclarity about the history and nature of the problems as in the OP, or by the facetious assertion of rights that don’t exist and that some naive readers may take to mean something.

    Reply
  8. WOLF
    19th October 2010

    Any legal advice on pursuing this against 192.com? By definition are they not acting as a Data Processor under the DPA?

    Reply
  9. Rogerbanger
    21st October 2010

    If your worried about the safety of your children, stalkers, and fraudsters
    please sign this petition and forward it to as many people as possible –
    http://www.gopetition.com/petition/39936.html

    Reply
  10. roger
    13th November 2010

    Shutdown 192.com petition – please sign and forward.
    http://www.gopetition.com/petition/39936.html

    Reply
  11. A
    15th February 2011

    These are no one but thieves. Stealing your private information and trade it into the hands of criminals. I guarantee you that they wouldn’t last long. I am about to launch a campaign against them. Please join me as we all need to gather together. Every individual has the right to have their privacy. Do you want that thieves and criminals to come after your family? Come on guys, it’s the time to wake up. This is a very serious matter that leads into crime.

    Reply
  12. A
    15th February 2011

    We have made our mission to close down their 192.com company and bring them down as existence of their company is breaching others privacy therefore breaching the law especially in a modern society and at this complex age.
    They are bunch of hungry armatures that came up with the idea to sell people’s private information to strangers to make few pennies here and there to be able to survive. I have contacted them many times and requested them to remove my details from their database but anytime I called, there were some armatures answering the phone and they claimed that their computers, fax and all their system is shouting down and it’s not working.
    We do not believe a word these people say, simply because they are crooks. There are only few handfuls of people in their office who are trying to mess around with people’s life and privacy. We have made a promise to close them down and we want your support.
    BBC AND GOVERNMENT ORGANIZETIONS MUST BE AWARE OF THE FACT AND DANGER THAT 192.COM IMPOSES THROUGH OUT OPERATTING THEIR BUSINESS AND THEY MUST STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY.
    And, if they don’t, then we raise fund available to crash them down.
    ACT TODAY. YOU ARE RESPONSINBLE. SECURE YOUR FAMILY.

    Reply
  13. fp
    12th September 2011

    It is a shame that it is not possible to remove one’s detail online (you have to send them a letter, what a joke).

    And it is an even bigger shame that I have to opt out this electoral roll stuff, why isn’t it private by default… Not a great incentive to vote I have to say.

    Reply
  14. madman
    8th January 2012

    fu** hell im so pisst off about it its just a big joke on people privacy  rights  its not RIGHT !!!!!

    Reply
  15. fp
    8th January 2012

    By the way, I did send them a letter asking to be removed from the web site. Guess what ? I’m still in there.

    This is insulting.

    Reply
  16. Glasgow235
    19th February 2012

    My safety and my families safety is severely compromised by 192.com. I work with severely mentally ill people, some of whom also have criminal records for extremely violent acts. Everyone in my team are ex-directory for a reason, and we were shocked to find that anyone can trace us. We plan to get our unions and professional bodies to pursue this issue. 

    Reply
  17. liam
    23rd August 2012

    Not good for me coz iv got people after me!! But im sure Mr and Mrs 2.4 children have nothing to worry about.

    Reply
  18. Sharon Asquith
    21st May 2014

    192.com has my details that im not happy about, but to make it worse, it has the builder next door to me as living in my home when I live alone, his number is 10a mine is 10,as I live in a warden controled bungalow this could make my life bad, im ill and dont know what to do about this, can any one help?

    Reply
  19. Leanne
    29th August 2014

    my violent ex has used this horrendous site to find myself and my children. Until now I had no idea 192.com existed. He has threatened us and camped outside our home. Police say he isn’t committing a crime by sitting outside in his car. it’s very possible we will have to move to a refuge. 192.com have no idea of the harm they are causing

    Reply
  20. Anna Babini
    26th December 2014

    I find disgraceful that my information can be public on 192.com. I don’t want to have to ask to remove my data, I simply don’t want this website to exhist!!!! they shouldn’t be allowed to get and publicise our data, it’s horrible horrible horrible. How can this be legal ??????

    Reply

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