Concerns raised about genealogy site that exposes personal details

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A national genealogy website that offers personal information to just about anyone for free is drawing big privacy concerns. touts "one of the largest collections of genealogy records anywhere."

To access information, all a user has to do is type in a name to find family members, birthdays and past and present addresses.

The site is drawing significant concerns from advocates and others, who say the information could easily be used by for the wrong purposes.

Cybercrimes expert Chris Duque said the site poses a personal safety risk.

"It's not unheard of for scammers to go into these ancestry sites to get background family information and create a persona imitating a legitimate person," he said.

The website states that user information is collected when someone registers, interacts with the site, or voluntarily interacts with third-party services.

"Technology and all these databases were created with good intentions, but there's a small minority of the world's population that are just sociopaths and criminals," Duque said.

While sites that provide personal information are nothing new, they're typically not as easy to access. For instance, Spokeo, TruthFinder and Intelius all require a fee or a subscription to access public records.

Several people Hawaii News Now spoke to in Waikiki didn't even know existed -- or that it had so much information on them.

"It's kind of neat for your own purposes, but anybody can do that, so that's kind of like stalkers' heaven," said Alabama resident Rachel Russo.  "Usually having to pay for it deters people from getting too much into your business."

There is good news, however. You can opt out from the site and have your personal details removed by clicking here.

Hawaii News Now reached out to FamilyTreeNow with a request for comment, but didn't receive a response.

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