The Federal Trade Commission took a stand and warned the marketers behind six mobile applications with background screening features that they may be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The features on the apps range from searching police records to criminal pages to private investigation. For example, one of the apps is called "Investigate and Locate Anyone," so you get the point of what these apps are aiming to accomplish.
While these options might prove useful and quick for some employers, the FTC stipulates that the background report results provided by the apps must be in compliance with the FCRA when used for employment screening, housing, credit, or other purposes.
According to the FTC, some of the apps include criminal record histories, which bear on an individual's character and general reputation and are precisely the type of information that is typically used in employment and tenant screening.
The idea behind the FCRA is to ensure the privacy as well as accuracy of consumer report information.
The FTC hasn't taken any legal action against the companies behind these apps yet, hoping that this warning will suffice in influencing them to double-check compliance with the FCRA going forward.
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