Bellevue-based Intelius is something of a reporter's dream. They provide a fair amount of information on people's past addresses and family members for free and another $50 or so will get you an entire background check. As Nina Shapiro reported, the company built its business playing off fear, offering to check out potential significant others, nannies, or new neighbors.
Now they've added a cell phone number search for the low, low price of about $15 and Verizon is pissed. The New Jersey-based cell service provider released a statement today saying: "Stop it. This is a violation of Americans' privacy. People expect their cell phone numbers to remain private."
Coincidentally this morning I got a sales call from a gym in Chicago on the cell (I still have a Windy City area code) offering me a great discount on some sort of monthly membership. I never had a gym membership of any kind while I was living there, so wondering if my unlisted mobile number might be out there I skimmed Intelius. My cell isn't available, but five other Onstot mobiles are. You can only find residential lines for the name "Greg Nickels" in Washington, but a "Ronald Sims" cell number is up for sale.
I feel like I should be a little outraged, but it all seems sort of inevitable doesn't it?