A website that presents itself as a genealogy tracker is coming under fire for how startlingly easy it makes it for anyone on the to quickly track down extensive personal information on anyone and everyone.
FamilyTreeNow.com, which was launched in 2014, according to the site, features a simple search bar on the homepage where users can input a first and last name and state.
Records for those under the searched name can be clicked into, and provide birth year, age, links to family members, links to possible associates, phone numbers, and current and past addresses, alongside the years of residence.
The search is free to do, and requires no account or log-in.
“Everything on this site is 100 percent free,” FamilyTreeNow.com boasts. “Running searches, viewing details, everything! Other genealogy and ancestry sites charge fees, not us!”
The information has been compiled by mining “billions of historical records including census (1790-1940) records, birth records, death records, marriage & divorce records, living people records, and military records.”
One woman’s discovery of the site prompted her to create an online chain about how to quickly remove your information from FamilyTreeNow.com’s databases. Her instructions have gone viral, and were covered by the Washington Post, among others.
Here is how to opt out of FamilyTreeNow.com:
• Visit the homepage
• At the bottom of the page, click on ‘Privacy‘
• Under the Privacy Police header, click on ‘Opt Out of Living People Records’
• Click the box that proves you are not a robot, then click ‘Begin Opt Out Procedure’
• Enter the relevant information for the person you want to opt out
• Click into the correct record
• Click the ‘Opt Out This Record’ red button at the top of the page