We’re all consumers. Normally I write about industry changes, but here’s something that affects all of us.
I had a call this morning from a friend. I didn’t recognise the number that called my line at home (which I’d forgotten was anything other than a mechanism to pipe broadband into my house), so I looked it up on Google. Amongst all the sites, one caught my eye “uk-community.com”
If you input almost any mobile number into a Google search it will appear in results for the websites www.uk-book.info, and/or ukphonebook.mobi, and/or uk-community.com, often under the guise of an address book belonging to someone you’ll never have heard of.
On first glance, the numbers and names found on www.uk-book.info under an A-Z listing appear to be part of someone’s contact list that has been made public. However, the numbers shown don’t correspond to the owners of the mobile numbers – my friend’s number apparently belongs to a person I’ve never heard of, as do others I’ve checked out. Also the names of the ‘address book’ owner and many of the people in it look computer generated, as many names are odd. The names seem to change too, so what appears under the letter ‘A’ one day might be different on the next day.
Looking at the domain, it was registered with GoDaddy by:
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Ashley Robinson
Registrant Street: 6 Slington House
Registrant Street: Rankine Road
Registrant City: BASINGSTOKE
Registrant State/Province: Hampshire
Registrant Postal Code: RG24 8PH
Registrant Country: UK
Registrant Phone: +44.2032900211
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(This information is reproduced from publicly available WHOIS information).
So we have an organisation who is using illicit means to gather information, and then sell it on, in contravention of the Data Protection Act in the UK. The Information Commissioner’s Office must no doubt be taking an interest.