Ancestry website may reveal information you don’t want public

Ancestry website may reveal information you don’t want public. (Provided Photo/familytreenow.com)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – We know that not everything we do online will stay private, but what about the information you didn’t share?

FamilyTreeNow.com is raising concerns about internet privacy. Launched in 2014, the site claims to have one of the largest collections of genealogy records anywhere.

Information on the site largely comes from public records and other legally accessible sources that data brokers use. What makes FamilyTreeNow stand out is how easy it is for anyone to access all of the information all at once and for free.

Accessing the site is easy, which requires a first and last name and state of residence. Not only will it list your name and address, but it also lists the names and addresses of relatives as well.

This is an obvious concern for public figures, police officers, stalking and domestic violence victims, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out this could be dangerous for just about anyone.

EFF Activism director Rainey Reitman said, “Let’s say you’re on vacation with your family and posting photos on Instagram. Anybody who happens to see those photos can look up your home address. So everyday people have lots of good reasons to keep their address private.”

Though much of the information found on the site is public record, you can opt-out to be removed from it’s listing. The site’s opt out process takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. FamilyTreeNow notifies consumers it will take another 48 hours to process.

How to opt-out of records on FamilyTreeNow.com:

1. Visit familytreenow.com/optout

2. Run a search for yourself

2. After you have verified that the record is yours, click the red ‘Opt Out” button that is on the page.

3. FamilyTreeNow.com said it can take up to 48 hours for requests to be processed. Once it is processed that record will be removed from all places on the site.

4. If you have multiple records, FamilyTreeNow.com say you may have to opt-out of multiple records.

5. If you found your record using a search engine, go back to the exact record, copy the URL from the browser address bar and submit it on FamilyTreeNow’s website.

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