An email from the past, one of the players/administrators of one of the MUDs I was in who was at the Game Developers Conference, made me start looking for one of the players who lives here in Los Angeles. This player has made enough tracks that I quickly found out that he still lives around here somewhere. Now LA is so big, "here" could be anywhere from next door to 3 hours driving away, but well, it's a lot closer than when I am in Norway.
I could find where he works and the general area where he lives, but no email for him, and not a lot of information on his work place. I did however get an offer to buy the information on him from a background check. For 7,95$ I could get his unlisted phone number and everything else, including his financial history and a list of former room mates.
It's not a big sum.
I would really like to talk to him.
I am not going to intrude that way.
But it makes me wonder about the legality of such businesses. Is it legal to sell that kind of information? In Norway I can run a financial background check on people by contacting a certain public office. It's done regularly by banks and others, and you are notified when somebody do it. For a while I was bombed with notifications, as different banks were considering me for approval for the mortgage of a house. But an unlisted number is often unlisted for a good reason, and that's a trust which is not supposed to be broken. You can't buy it legally from the phone company. I don't know if you can sell it legally if you have somehow learned it.
I miss my colleagues, investigative journalists know a lot of interesting answers.