zaba dabba doooo.
April 15, 2005 1:30 PM   Subscribe

ZabaSearch.com, a stalker's new best friend! Is lack of privacy a good thing?

(Extra "bizarre points" in second link, noting the site's Heaven's Gate connection.)
posted by miss lynnster (53 comments total)

 
Whoah.

I suppose this is nothing more than what's already available if you know where to look, but I for one am glad it only applies to America (so far).
posted by jokeefe at 1:37 PM on April 15, 2005


Ha! They don't have a DOB for me. I'm a man of mystery.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:47 PM on April 15, 2005


I'm only in there under my maiden name, and not under my married name.

But it still kind of freaked me out to see all my former addresses.

Yikes.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:50 PM on April 15, 2005


Actually, they do-- they just don't have my middle initial. And the DOB error is the same one that the Massachusetts census made.

So the free info is just census data cross-referenced with phone records.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:51 PM on April 15, 2005


Ha! They don't have a DOB for me. I'm a man of mystery.

11/20/1874

Even Webcrawler knows that.
posted by bondcliff at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2005


They have seven records for me at various past addresses, but they don't have my current address or phone which have been the same for 2 years.
posted by p3t3 at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2005


Apparently, the links work fine in IE but not in Firefox. Odd.
posted by TheNakedPixel at 1:57 PM on April 15, 2005


Sheppagus: Same thing here.
It even has an old dorm address for me!

On preview:
Mayor Curley- I've always had an unlisted number, but I'm in there.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:57 PM on April 15, 2005


Looks like they've still got quite a few bugs in the system. When searching for myself, I find multiple entries with mistakes in one or more fields (not counting the different guy with the same name). In one case, they've got the address and phone number of a former girlfriend. I'm not sure how that happened - it's not like I ever lived there.
posted by tdismukes at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2005


I'm not in their database, nor are any of my friends. But where would they get bulk information on young college students lacking things like credit histories or permanent addresses? My parents are easy to find, although I don't feel like spending money for a background check on my folks to see what the site knows about them. Anyone with a DOB listed seems to have been born in or before the 70s, wonder where they got the data. Its easy to find people not listed on zabasearch using google and knowing the person's full name along with one or two relevant facts about them. Perhaps there are similar, more comprehensive (threatening) sites out there, but I'm not worried.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 2:00 PM on April 15, 2005


A database for identity thieves. Cute.

TheNudeyPixel, links don't work in Safari or Camino, either. I had to cut and paste from the source.
posted by veedubya at 2:00 PM on April 15, 2005


1-28 ;-).

Disturbing.
posted by trharlan at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2005


Kellydamnit- does it list your unlisted phone number? THAT would be creepy.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2005


It seems the only thing left to do to protect your privacy is to change your name to John Smith.
posted by a_day_late at 2:07 PM on April 15, 2005


Matthew A Haughey Oct 1972 w/ Address and Phone Number from previous residence.

Creepy.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 2:08 PM on April 15, 2005


Actually, it does, Major Curley. Good thing I haven't lived there (or used that name) since 2000!
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:09 PM on April 15, 2005


It may be wise to be wary about the data you fill into the "search" form.
posted by TonyRobots at 2:12 PM on April 15, 2005


A threat to privacy? Nah. It comes across as mostly a joke. A search for myself turns up nothing. Searching for my father turns up a phone number that is several years out of date. Nothing ground-breaking in terms of accuracy or completeness. Only thing new here that I can see is the filthy marriage with "Get UR FREE! Credit Report Now LOLrz!!!1" style spam nonsense. Seems that the actual people searching function is only there to mask their intent to take your money. Ranks right up there with google spam pages and fake dialog-box popup ads.
posted by darksquirrel at 2:12 PM on April 15, 2005


Doesn't have my current residue, and I've been there for five years.

But then again, some days I'm not sure I exist....
posted by Floydd at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2005


Doesn't have my current residue

I'm pretty sure the cops are holding on to that for the trial.

This thing is worthless. Search for "Jesus Christ" and it gives you a bunch of different ages and addresses and none of them are even close.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:22 PM on April 15, 2005


"Clicking on his address takes you to a page where you can access a map and satellite photo of Zakari's house, as well as a five-day weather forecast for his neighborhood." Ahhhh yes, it's always helpful to have a satellite visual and be able to plan ahead for premium stalking weather...

It didn't have my current address but I've only been living here 3 months. It had all of my other addresses dating back to 1992 though. And it also has the address of my first high school boyfriend. It looks like his 3 bedroom craftsman home has some nice weather coming up.

(Kidding, I didn't really check. No, really. I didn't...)
posted by miss lynnster at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2005


I'm quite amused that, despite my personal info being all over the web in a dozen places, they don't have a single jot on me.
posted by brownpau at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2005


Heh. It says I'm 61 years old.
I'm not.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:49 PM on April 15, 2005


Ha! They got nothing on me either. But, I did find a dozen other people with my same first and last names, scattered about the country. Perhaps I should start stalking them all. That would be creepy.
posted by salad spork at 2:50 PM on April 15, 2005


There are dozens of sites like this, already up and running. I found one last year and tried to get my name out of it, to no avail.

It's really creepy stuff. I showed it to my coworkers, as I told them every place they've ever lived, and made up stories about how they got from point A to point Z (usually I was right).
posted by mathowie at 2:58 PM on April 15, 2005


There are 39 Jason Voorhees in the U.S.

But, there are only 3 Freddy Kruegers.

No wonder Jason won!
posted by Darkman at 3:00 PM on April 15, 2005


For some reason I can't stop entering celebrities names.
posted by travis vocino at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2005


PS: Combined with Google Maps, especially with the Satellite features, it gets increasingly scary.
posted by travis vocino at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2005


ugh--my current address/phone, and my previous, and for both my brothers. i don't like this, even if the info is available in the phonebook.
posted by amberglow at 3:18 PM on April 15, 2005


This made the email rounds last week at work. Every one of my addresses (with nearly every phone number) for the past four years is listed, including my DOB. Oddly/thankfully, none of my friends and family are listed.

I emailed them last Tueday (info@zabasearch.com) and asked them to remove me, but nothing's happened yet, and I'm not getting my hopes up.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:32 PM on April 15, 2005


Also, LOL in the direction of mathowie.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:34 PM on April 15, 2005


Actually, as far as these sort of databases go, it's better than most. I used to do a fair amount of background investigation many years ago and was able to find stuff on people I couldn't find back then.

On the other hand, birth date information is notoriously unreliable. To be sure you've got the right person it's normal to have multiple confirmations - right birth date, middle initial, family members, etc.

I also found a friend of mine, a political researcher, who has worked hard for decades protecting his privacy. I've never found him in an open source search before.

There may be a right to privacy, but there doesn't seem to be any enforcible right to anonymity. [eerie organ music swells in the background...]
posted by warbaby at 3:35 PM on April 15, 2005


Oops, this link explains.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2005


as someone who works in identity protection and management, let me just say "good luck" if you think you can get your information removed from these places.

to begin with, these places are all bottom feeders, pulling their data from higher level providers like lexis-nexis (no - I don't work for them). in reality, they probably don't have a stable database for you to be permanently "removed" from. if you're in the nightly/weekly refresh, you're in their system.

looking at their data, it is horribly bad. it is a collection of various public sources with little to no post-processing done. from some of the marker data I saw in there, it is also a bit out of date, so they aren't using the freshest of sources.

the OP hit it on the head though. this (and other tools like it) are tailor-made for the impulse-buyer: stalker, curious new love interest, spurned old love interest, etc.
posted by evilgenius at 3:45 PM on April 15, 2005


A quick search on myself did turn up my two US addresses. I'm rather glad that this doesn't work for Canada. That site is definitely a stalker's best tool.
posted by clevershark at 3:53 PM on April 15, 2005


Dudes, now we can totally fuck with Lowtax's dad....
posted by sourwookie at 3:56 PM on April 15, 2005


Stuff like this explains why some stalker has been able to spend the last 9 years ago calling me just to hear me answer the phone, despite my moving approximately once a year during that time period (not because of him, I just like to travel). I think he's given up now, he's probably used a site like this to find some other woman to irritate: maybe his girlfriend from the 4th grade.
posted by fshgrl at 4:10 PM on April 15, 2005


Woo! I'm not old enough to count for existence yet!
posted by hopeless romantique at 5:11 PM on April 15, 2005


This site has two of my very old addresses, says that I'm 56 (I'm only 23!), and the only phone number that's listed is 4 years old.

Not very useful for stalking.
posted by cmonkey at 5:57 PM on April 15, 2005


It has my mom listed at one of my old apartments, which never ever happened(and her name was in no way involved in the process).
posted by drezdn at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2005


Weird. They have one of my addresses with my father's name -- in a state he's never visited.

They have lots of stuff about me, actually. None even remotely current, though.
posted by davejay at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2005


Wow -- they also have my sister with birthdate, but again with the address of an apartment I had in another state. WTF?
posted by davejay at 6:31 PM on April 15, 2005


I emailed them last Tueday (info@zabasearch.com) and asked them to remove me, but nothing's happened yet, and I'm not getting my hopes up.

now they have your email address.
posted by th3ph17 at 7:04 PM on April 15, 2005


I'm disturbed by this. On the one hand, I have little to hide myself, and no credit history worth stealing, so I'm unconcerned for myself. I also have a strong information will out philosophy towards this sort of thing -- keeping it secret in some ways just creates more problems.

But it definitely puts the lie to anything like an "unlisted" number, from now on. I have a friend whose ex-husband harassed her online -- in fact, her case was once taught in FBI cybercrime courses. Her current residence is not in her name, nor are the utilities or the telephone, and she uses pseudonyms online. Nevertheless, she's in there. She's made many choices based on balancing the desire to stay hidden with the desire to live her life. She keeps a gun at home. He hasn't bugged her in a long while, but the idea that he might find her does cause sleepless nights -- so a service like this is very unnerving.

I know it was always available to anyone with modest perseverance and social engineering skills and, well, $40 -- but now it's out there for free. Is this fundamentally worse? Some would argue no, but I'm not so sure.
posted by dhartung at 8:02 PM on April 15, 2005


53 records for jay joslin - none of them me. i remain obscured by clouds...
posted by moonbird at 8:57 PM on April 15, 2005


but jay's just a nickname, and i'm drunk. searching under my 'real' name, there i am, three different addresses.
posted by moonbird at 9:08 PM on April 15, 2005


I checked this out with one of the legal reference librarians I work with, and her take was the information is taken from real estate records and phone books.

The information on the names we checked is incomplete and not recent in re addresses, and almost totally off in re years of birth (I didn't see any dates of birth at all offered in the initial page).

I'm curious about what clicking on the "Give Us $20 And We'll Give You The World!" option would yield, but I would never give these people my information (luckily, my name is common and I can't be found at all). Anyone here in the position to do so?
posted by goofyfoot at 1:03 AM on April 16, 2005


I found my name listed at the address of an apartment building we sold over 10 years ago. We NEVER lived there.
posted by Cranberry at 1:40 AM on April 16, 2005


What little information they had about me was really outdated, but more than that I was a little bummed out to realize how profoundly common my name is. There's at least 2 other people in my town (unrelated!) with the same name. Assuming, of course, their information isn't outdated too...

Suprising number of Hitlers out there.
posted by maryh at 8:15 AM on April 16, 2005


There is another site that is far more accurate: you have to pay to see the detailed info, but it's only $20 or so and it had just about every place I've ever lived or every person I could think of to plug into it. Much more accurate than this site.
posted by fshgrl at 9:38 AM on April 17, 2005


Count me as one of the disturbed ones.

A quick search for myself shows my current address and five previous addresses w/ a correct month/year for my birthday.

A few more pieces of information and I am a candidate for ID theft. Damn credit card applications!

The worst part? Zabasearch said in a SFGate article that removing your information was as simple as sending an e-mail to info@zabasearch.com. In reality, they make you send A LETTER to an address requesting your information is removed (and they note it may take a few weeks to process).
posted by gnash at 10:32 AM on April 20, 2005


Interestingly, the owner of zaba.com, a guy in the UK named Stefek Zaba, is getting a ton of angry emails about ZabaSearch, even though he's not affiliated with them in any way. He's even more disturbed that they're using his last name for a site like this.

He put together a list of what you can do to get off of ZabaSearch. Don't use their opt-out form! It appears to be a spam harvester.

Unfortunately, I posted something on my own site about the privacy concerns with ZabaSearch, not thinking that because my last name also starts with "Za," that I would also receive a ton of emails from very angry people who don't read.
posted by kat at 4:53 AM on April 22, 2005


We received your request. The following is the fastest way to create, edit or delete your records in ZabaSearch. ZabaTools allow you to take control of the information available about you or to manage how you allow others to communicate with you. You can create, edit, delete your record or add a ZabaLink all for free.

Why create a record? If you don't exist in ZabaSearch and would like to be included.

Why edit a record? If you are in ZabaSearch, but would like to update your information. Or, add your e-mail address or your web site URL to your record.

Why delete a record?** If you want to remove your address and/or telephone number

Add a free ZabaLink! Instead of deleting a record, consider replacing your address and/or telephone number with a ZabaLink*.

**If someone finds and clicks your ZabaLink (placed where your address or telephone number was), they will come to an e-mail form that will allow them to send a message to you without knowing your e-mail address, where you are, or if you ever even received the message. You can either respond, ignore, or send back a non-delivery notice. ZabaLinks empower you to control how people can communicate with you on the Internet. You can be found, only if you want to be on a person by person basis. And, ZabaLinks are free!

In order to create, edit, delete your record and/or to add a ZabaLink, all for free, you must make that request in writing and mail it to: ZabaTools, 820 Park Row, #685, Salinas, CA 93901. Receiving requests by mail allows us to verify and process requests quickly. Records created, edited and ZabaLinks added may take up to several weeks to appear in ZabaSearch. Records requested to be deleted are typically processed the next business day after receiving the request. You will be notified by e-mail when you request enters our system and then once more when the requested records have been adjusted. Please specify if you want to create, edit, delete a record and/or add a free ZabaLink, e-mail address or url to your record. If you add a free ZabaLink, please include the e-mail address where you would like messages blindly forwarded to from your ZabaLink.

In order to fill your request your letter must contain the following information to insure we create, edit or delete the correct records. After you confirm by e-mail that we processed your request, your letter and the information you provided in it will be shredded. You will have created a record for yourself just as you like it and will be eventually given online tools to adjust your information as you like live in ZabaSearch 24/7.

1. E-mail address
2. Full name including middle initial
3. Address of the record you wish to create, edit or delete
4. Phone number you wish to have removed
5. Year of birth.
6. Specify if you are requesting to create, edit or delete a record or if you want to add a ZabaLink or URL to your
record.
7. Sign and date your request
posted by Macboy at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2005


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