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(Chron)   Parents suing Internet company that sold information to stalker that killed their daughter   ( divider line
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14830 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Dec 2002 at 10:30 AM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

183 Comments     (+0 »)

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2002-12-30 10:36:09 AM  
I think that anyone selling information about me should be shot. I mean it is bad enough that all of the advertisers can get this stuff, but the potential for this type of thing is frightening.
2002-12-30 10:39:07 AM  
The court also is deciding whether someone whose Social Security number was obtained without permission can argue invasion of privacy

I farking hope so. That is total bullshiat. I would not want anyone to be able to get that information for ANY reason.
2002-12-30 10:39:36 AM  
First in a series of tragedies revolving around the right to guard your privacy and personal information, I'm sure.
2002-12-30 10:41:28 AM  
Maybe if someone pulled up in a car next to all the Docusearch execs' kids and shot them they'd feel a little differently.

What a bunch of bastards.
2002-12-30 10:41:41 AM  
There have always been ways to find out information about people (private detectives spring to mind), it is just that with computers and the internet, finding information on people has become much simpler and easier for more people to do. I think that they are wrong to sue the company.
2002-12-30 10:41:44 AM  
I wish I was being stalked for once instead of doing the stalking. I mean it is fun and all, but it takes up so much time out of one's day. Add to that the death threats that have to be carefully constructed and mailed anonymously and you are talking about 10-12 hours gone in a snap. I would gladly give it all up just to smell her perfume again like I got to on April 4, 1998, when she got out of the office elevator. I knew by the way she said "Excuse me" that love was in the air. Oh well.
2002-12-30 10:41:46 AM  
Playing Devil's Advocate (the game the whole family can play!):

Companies like this DO serve a purpose, whether you agree or not.

If you had a long-lost relative you wanted to get in touch with, and this company helped you do so, you'd be pretty darned happy about it. Same goes for people you lost track of in high school or college, or a professor you admired. Now I agree that providing you someone's Social Security number is pretty farked up and offers NO redeeming value whatsoever. That said, I'm kind of at a loss on how, exactly, the company that located the girl is responsible for her death.

This is not an attempt at flame bait, nor do I work for this company or any others that do this for a living. But I'm curious. How can you justifiably hold them accountable for the sad, tragic actions of the mentally unstable?

You may as well outlaw private detectives.
2002-12-30 10:43:04 AM  
this has its positives, but i think the downsides outweigh the good.
sad story.
2002-12-30 10:44:07 AM  
Well, I've used in the past to help me locate my step father when he quit paying my mom's alimony and another time a defendant skipped town to avoid a lawsuit and they are worth every penny I paid them. Privacy in the modern US is a scam. Use a creditcard, online payment, banks, just about anything and someone knows. Don't like it? Move to a 2nd or 3rd world country. It ain't gonna change here.

\flame on\
2002-12-30 10:45:25 AM  
Good for them. No one should know where you live if you don't want them to. I wish the police could keep the same information confidential. A lunatic former coworker found me AFTER I filed an order to keep him away from me in public - his lawyer has a right to access the original filing without the whited-out address - and I had to move.
2002-12-30 10:45:29 AM  
to share it, you should have to first get permission from the individual to whom the info pertains. that way, if your long lost relative wants to hear from you, he or she will. it's his or her choice.
2002-12-30 10:45:56 AM  
I'd be happy just to be notified when somebody requests information on me. That way I'd be able to keep track of who knows what about me. And if I were getting 7 or 8 notifications a day, I'd be in my MPs office screaming like a madman.

I seriously think that it's a problem that companies collect information on people, but do not have those peoples' interests in mind.
2002-12-30 10:47:15 AM  
In this case, Youens already knew Boyer's home address and didn't need her work address to kill her

And exactly how did this "Docusearch" company have anything to do with the killing? Seems to me that this asshat already had the "goods".
2002-12-30 10:48:12 AM  
How dare they sue! Everybody has the right to information and to kill their Ex-lovers.

**runs and ducks
2002-12-30 10:48:28 AM  
sometimes, it takes a lawsuit.
2002-12-30 10:49:10 AM  
Companies like Docusearch don't do much besides dig up information that would take a normal person a long time to find, but it's not impossible to do alone. Basically, they're not doing anything I couldn't do; I pay them to do the dirty work for me.

I think the most important aspect is noted in the very last sentence: The PIs were only licensed in Florida, but were doing work all over the country. I hope there's a followup on this article.
2002-12-30 10:49:49 AM  

When you purchase a docusearch information request, they ask you what information you have to help them narrow down the search. Youens probably told them "I need the work address of Boyer, the Boyer that lives at 112 Anywhere Lane. Thats how it works.
2002-12-30 10:49:50 AM  
In the state where I live, most PIs have on-line access to your car registration and driver's license data, including your driver's license photograph.

That is all.
2002-12-30 10:50:48 AM  
choice...information.. abuses of knowledge...

trivial. all are suspect. all are victims.

you too can become a cliche.

And as for why Docusearch isn't smart enough to find the best lawyer they have in the databanks and blackmail them to defend them on this case, I don't know. Or maybe they already have......

"and it all leads IRAQ!!!!"
"Johnnie Cochrans pager explodes."
2002-12-30 10:51:11 AM  
Just curious, how many of you get article popping up on Google about you when you put in your real name?

I do, and it bugs me a little.
2002-12-30 10:51:23 AM  
my god, that is such a scary story. i find it disturbing that no one ever mentioned what he was writing on his web site to amy or anyone who knew her. maybe no one saw it?
2002-12-30 10:52:22 AM  
I have a feeling the psycho boyfriend would have killed her with or without the help from the company. But they sure do make it easier to find what you want.
2002-12-30 10:53:10 AM  
Chastain I agree with you to a point, and I think in this case it is true that this twisted individual would have committed the act regardless.

However, the law probably does need to be developed a bit in this area. Maybe these companies should inquire into the reasons the individuals desire the information. Maybe there should be background checks.

I don't know what these companies do. Do they find out if there are any restraining orders against their customers? Do they find out if their customers have been convicted of stalking or a similar offense? If they don't even inquire, I think there is at least a pretty good argument that it's negligent.
2002-12-30 10:53:25 AM  

At the risk of getting myself in serious trouble with the mods. I will say this the company that did the reasearch for the the stalker charged $150.00. This information could be had for free. An example of easy to get information is this. Google search on Jeff Fulbright can turn up some some possiblly good leads. I am not sure about the one at the top. Also it doesn't take a brain surgeon to do this stuff just about anyone can with a little time and patience. You will get the information you are looking for.

I am not saying this is right. But I am not sure that the business should be blamed for this. You could do this just as easily before the internet. The problem is that the laws in this country don't protect you from future possible crimes only from past criminal actions. Unless there is definite proof that harm is coming to a person stalking laws don't generally work. Or unless you are a major public figure. The unfortunate fact is though that this has not been the first time this kind of thing has happened.
2002-12-30 10:54:03 AM  
Diogenes, i agree. if someone wants you dead, s/he is going to kill you. if that wacko didn't get her work address from docusearch, i'm sure he could have found out where she works by following her or something else stalker-esque.
2002-12-30 10:54:16 AM  

My point was that the killer already had the information that he needed to do the killing. Seems to me that the Docusearch folks were no more implicated in the killing than the guy that sold the killer a coke at McDonalds while he was waiting for the chick to drive by.

I'm a believer in personal privacy and privacy of personal information, but releasing her SSN (normally used by your electric company, blockbuster video store, and dry-cleaners) and her place of employment (was a resume on-line?) should not get this company sued (knowing no more than what was in the article)
2002-12-30 10:55:12 AM  
Yep, Diogenes.

A well organized and ruthless psycho would have found her and killed her anyway, the search service just made it quicker.
2002-12-30 10:56:32 AM  
Do I sue the phone company for publishing the phone book?

Not that this is the same thing, but ask how far you want it to go before jumping on the "privacy" bandwagon.

There are a lot of things progress grants those who use it properly. By restricting everyone for the actions of a few, we are not fostering progress. Who knows if this is a good thing? What is true is that we need to focus on the person doing wrong, and not discourage the right of people to conduct commerce that may be for the better of all.

I am not saying that selling information is right. It is commerce. It is a business that has a market. What I am saying is that it is in our philosophy to encourage such a trade.

We would be hypocrites if we did not recognize that.

"Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater."

That saying has value. Consider it before passing judgment.
2002-12-30 10:57:05 AM  
It's time that some precedent was established stating that if you sell information on people, then you should face a certain legal liability for doing so.

I would even go so far as to say that this should be true even if the information was sold "in bulk".
2002-12-30 10:57:57 AM  
i agree that this might constitute negligence. but, i'm thinking that people need to be afforded strict legal protection from misappropriation (read unauthorized use) of personal information.
2002-12-30 10:58:14 AM  
Maybe this can set a precedent and get the ownership of personal information back in our hands. There was an interesting discussion on another site about the proliferation of businesses asking for/using your Social Security number as a means to identify you, even though it is illegal (as established by law- sorry, don't have the link right now). I go to buy clothes, and people are asking me what my home phone number is in order to complete a transaction. WTF? What right do they have? I only see this problem getting worse, as we no longer own our personal information or control our privacy (thanks Homeland Security!).
2002-12-30 10:59:50 AM  

Agreeed. Thats the point I was trying to make up above. Its SOO easy to find out info. And here is a point everyone seems to have missed:

Docusearch had hired a woman who called Boyer and her family to get her work address without revealing why she was calling, a technique known as "pretexting."

Or social engineering. The reality is that the Boyer and her FAMILY gave the info out. The same Family that suing and not suing themselves... umm wait.. hold the phone.... nm
2002-12-30 11:00:21 AM  

you have the choice as to whether you are listed in the phone book when you sign up for the service, and you have the right to take you name off the list anytime afterwards. People do it all the time.
2002-12-30 11:01:08 AM  
you're right. i missed that part. what a stupid family.
2002-12-30 11:02:38 AM  
I know you have a choice whether your name appears in the phone book. I know it is not the same thing as what happened here.

What I am wondering is whether we want to discourage what could be progress (or not, I have not determined that) based on the actions of a few lunatics.
2002-12-30 11:03:25 AM  
Well, someone has to pay, obviously. This is America. Every tradgy is a chance to make money, get your name in the paper, and etc. And since the killer didn't help them out by letting himself get caught and tried and convicted, but instead wussed out and killed himself, they are going after others. I'm surprised they haven't gone after his parents, or the doctor that didn't prescribe enough meds, or the health insurance company that refused to pay for said meds.

Maybe we need to get the mind cops from the Tom Cruise movie. That way, we can all be safe.
/cynical bastard today
2002-12-30 11:04:33 AM  
I work for a large legal information company and it stuns me how much personal information I could find out about someone with 30 minutes to kill. I can get your name; SSN; car make, model, plate, and VIN; names and numbers of your neighbors for the last 5 or so years; who has sued you; what professional licenses you hold, etc.
2002-12-30 11:05:53 AM  
Ok, this guy was ripped off if he paid $150 to get someone else to do something he could've done himself.

All this company did was call up her house and ask for the work address? And the parents just GAVE it to them without knowing why?!? Unless the woman calling blatantly lied about why she was calling, WTF.

Maybe the parents should sue themselves, since they're the ones who told the killer where she worked. Here's a hint: If someone calls you up asking for personal information about you or your family, KNOW WHO THE FARK THEY ARE BEFORE GIVING IT TO THEM.

And, frankly, someone needs to get off their arse and figure out how to resurect people. Just so we could show people that killing yourself isn't a good way to escape punishment for killing someone else.
2002-12-30 11:06:43 AM  
I know that these things exist, I just am tired of poeple being able to get information so easily about me. BTW, none of the links that were turned up there in you GIS had anything to do with me.

On the same note, I use the local courts website to run a quick background check on women who I date. It has alerted me to some potential problems, i.e. drug convictions, marriages, etc.
2002-12-30 11:06:54 AM  
This is the same problem that's been revolving since the beginning of civilization. What's better, getting rid of the bad people or molding society to prevent all people from ever having a means of becoming bad?

This is the kind of shiat that realy pisses me off. Why is the company that provided the information's responsibility to know what this kid wanted the information for? You know what this is? This is the arguement of gun control with a different spin. Stupid people think getting rid of guns will stop crime. No, guns have a ligitimate purpose, just like this company (whether one agrees with those purposes is a seperate issue ). The problem is not the medium done to commit the crime, it's the criminals. People who'd sue this company that sold information are the same people who'd sign their privacy and freedom away to the government for a false sense of security.

Why aren't they suing the car manufacturers because they sold a car that allowed this guy to easily follow her as she left work? Because the Internet is "scary", just like any form cloning and any other new technology. People don't understand it so when something goes wrong in their lives they want to point to the thing they don't understand or cannot control and cry in outrage it should be banned or severly limited.
2002-12-30 11:06:58 AM  
I think the law is clear on the release of social seurity numbers. You can't do it. That's why many colleges make you give them some number that they will use to post your grades instead of using your SSN because someone could make use of that info. Or maybe colleges are just unusualy ahead of the game. Something tells me the they're not, though.
2002-12-30 11:07:15 AM  
By "progress" do you mean a world where corporations have control over all my personal information, and have the power to do what they see fit with it?
2002-12-30 11:08:19 AM  
By the family's reasoning, they should be suing everyone: the gun manufacturer - the gas station that sold him the gas to drive to her work - her employer for not providing security. Far be it for me to belittle their pain, but grief and litigation are a nasty combo.
2002-12-30 11:09:30 AM  
Only one thing I can say: [image from too old to be available]
2002-12-30 11:10:20 AM  
I went searching on the interweb thingy, and I found out he posted in a guestbook on a Serial Killer website...

He's the one saying that serial killers are people who can't get dates... heh. There are some pretty sick farks who post there too.. Our world is a crazy place...

Also, the website mentioned Clinton... i'm surprised the Republicans of Fark haven't blamed him for the murder.
2002-12-30 11:10:31 AM  
MUAHAH!! Neither Google or Yahoo have any information on me! :)
2002-12-30 11:10:32 AM  
What's so wrong about free exchange of ideas and information?

These people suing should be ashamed of themselves.
2002-12-30 11:11:07 AM  
Wow, LuckyCarbon, great minds, eh?
2002-12-30 11:11:28 AM  
The [image from too old to be available] tag is completely inappropriate. The daughter was an adult and the parents are just attempting to cash in. We need an asshat tag for these people.
Kat [TotalFark]
2002-12-30 11:11:43 AM  
This is why you have to be nice to's too easy to make enemys.

Docusearch and other companies have a legitimate reason for doing business, they can be helpful, but this is just wrong. You can't put a gun into the hands of a crazy person (even though someone did for this guy), and you sure shouldn't put the address of his lustee in his hands either.

I dunno how they could stop that, but I sure hope nothing like this happens again. I'm sure thats overly optimistic, but things like this are just too sad for words.
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