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Under Surveillance

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Beyond Google
How to cybersearch anybody.
By Rachel Wolff

Here’s what you know about the nice guy from the bar last night: His name is Bob Smith, and he’s from Flossmoor, Illinois, but lives on the Upper East Side. First, get his possible Zip Codes (at NYC.gov): 10021, 10028, or 10029. To be safe, check the National Sex Offender Public Registry (nsopr.gov). It’s a search–by–Zip Code site with picture and identifying information (height, weight, ethnicity, scars, tattoos) for each registered offender. Continue to Infospace to see if there are any addresses listed for a Bob (or Robert) Smith in one of those zip codes. To assure that he is, in fact, single, go to MyFamily; its People Finder has listings that contain the names of all residents under one name at a particular address. Does he own or rent? The Automated City Register Information System (nyc.gov/html/dof/html/jump/acris.shtml) is a very easy-to-use database of deeds, mortgage payments, and co-op agreements dating back to 1966. PropertyShark requires registration, but it’s free, and you’ll see when and for how much he bought. Don’t forget MySpace! Filter the search by Zip Code for more-concise results. Scrutinize his profile for alma maters, professional affiliations, and a personal e-mail address that can then be used to search for incriminating photos on Snapfish or Flickr. Blog-search with Technorati or IceRocket, using the hobbies and interests you’ve found. If you decide to dig into Friendster, Livejournal, Piczo, and Bebo, you’ll have to create aliases; ditto for Classmates or Alumni.net. Still not sure? IRBSearch offers à la carte services priced, for the most part, under $5. Here you can run searches for juicy tidbits like concealed-weapons permits, an FAA pilot’s license, or a divorce.


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