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Anyone know about public shipping details?

Posted By: collyk

Anyone know about public shipping details? - 06/27/08 05:04 PM

I am doing a bit of research and wondered if any of you legal bods knew anything about this.

Today it came to my attention that my details have appeared on a commercial website without my consent. How did this happen? You may be asking.

Well, I shipped my personal belongings from the UK to Belize. They passed through Miami and as a result, it seems, that my personal information is now a matter of public record. Not only that, but there are a number of commercial sites that use this information and post it on their websites.

When I contacted one of these sites, the owner's immediate response was to say that I could have my details removed for a fee. I was flabbergasted and this reeked of extortion to me. I chatted to him about this and he hadn't really thought of the invasion of privacy issue, but said that he can't go taking people's details down upon request as it would affect his competetive edge against other online companies who do the same thing.

Now, I know that many people in the UK try to avoid flying via the USA because of invasion of privacy concerns. Does this mean that it would also be wise to avoid shipping via the USA for the same reason? The gentleman I spoke to assured me that what he was doing is perfectly legal and that shipping records have been public for 200 years. The first thought that came to mind was what if I were a woman escaping domestic violence and trying to move to a new country. There is no way I would have known that I would be so easily traceable as a result.

I'd appreciate opinions, advice etc.
Posted By: Phil

Re: Anyone know about public shipping details? - 06/27/08 07:24 PM

So is this the company you used - and I recommended - for shipping or is it The Port / local shipping Agents in Miami that publicise this info that's then picked up and used commercially, or do they actively sell or pass on the info. What sort of info are we talking.
Posted By: collyk

Re: Anyone know about public shipping details? - 06/27/08 07:31 PM

Hi Phil,

I've had someone private message me who has also had the same experience. They contacted their attorney to discover they couldn't do anything. I still am angry.

It doesnt' come from your shipping company. Apparently all shipping records in the USA are public record. These online companies obviously pick up the info and use it for commercial gain.

From what I can gather, depending on the company offering information the info includes your name, where you shipped from, what you shipped, where you shipped to, contents of shipment and value.

This an article about the company that has done it to me.

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/amazing-new-trade-data/
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