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Intelius lets people wrangle some of their data

New service will let Intelius users hide their latest contact information and make notes to explain things like criminal records and job instability.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read
Intelius' new TrueRep service offers privacy and promotion features.
Intelius' new TrueRep service offers privacy and promotion features.

People search provider Intelius will launch a new service on Tuesday that gives users control over some of their publicly accessible information, such the ability to keep their current contact information hidden.

Intelius, which is used by organizations for background checks and by consumers to search for information on other people, is moving beyond its initial role of public records aggregator and offering tools designed to help people manage their online identities.

The most important feature of the new TrueRep service, available in beta, for consumers is it will allow people to hide their latest phone number and address (e-mails are not displayed on the site), said Jim Adler, Intelius' chief privacy officer.

Intelius decided to add the contact suppression feature after talking to an executive at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Adler said. The site will not indicate that the information is hidden; it just is not displayed, he said. Users can choose up to two addresses to hide and one phone number.

In a few months, the site will add the ability to receive alerts when new records are available on the user and to annotate public records and insert comments next to items, according to Adler. For instance, someone with a criminal record could explain extenuating circumstances. A person could explain why they have moved residences or changed jobs a lot, and someone shown as having a last name similar to someone else could explain that they are not related or affiliated.

The service will also include tools for helping people get a sense of what their online reputation is based on their public records and social network public profiles. It also provides ways individuals or small businesses can improve their online exposure. The service can be used to create a blog and it tells ways to get Twitter followers and to get listed in online directories like Plaxo and ZoomInfo, as well as tips for improving search engine optimization for a site so it is listed higher in search results.

Consumers will be charged a subscription fee of $9.95 a month and it will be less than $90 a year for the TrueRep service, Adler said.

Explaining why Intelius is launching its new service and also commenting on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's new Do Not Track proposal, he said: "The industry needs to step up and give people control."