Tim Boucher

Questionable content, possibly linked

Tag: private investigation

Public records databases used by Private Investigators

I’m in no way a licensed private investigator. I’m not even sure that I would want to become one. But I have been exploring a bit how this works, and sort of the lore around it.

One thing I’ve always been curious about around the PI-types as we see represented in media, is these “special” databases we sometimes see, where they can do “deep research” onto a person — or say look up license plates. ? Minor boring stuff like that.

Turns out there is a whole industry around that, which I won’t pretend to be very versed in. Around this topic, I found two main documents which referenced maybe a dozen or so variations on public record searches as a paid “information service,” and from those have basically boiled down the ones that have piqued my curiosity the most being LexisNexis Accurint and Thomson Reuters Clear.

Outside of PI-types, we see a lot of materials marketed towards also people who do legal research, some social media searching, and fraud detection and prevention and others (not to mention criminal investigation, which is outside my interest area). ?

This first video from Thomson Reuters is fun because it makes use of the “crazy wall” TV trope:

And one from the many different Accurint videos out there:

The privacy/data protection cross-over on these videos should be pretty obvious. In another one from TLOxp, we hear the mention of public records “plus proprietary technology”:

It doesn’t seem to be the most discussed topic ever, but I would wager that for certain of the information services operating in this space, that at least a few of them must be purchasing and correlating data from other agencies, such as the dreaded data-brokers.

It’s something I’ll continue researching and publishing about, as the subject seems vast, deep, and curiouser and curiouser the further in you go…

See also: survey results data of databases used by private investigators.

 

To weirdos with questions

I’ve been ? investigating what it takes to become a licensed private investigator in the province of Quebec. Kind of just for fun, really, as an extension of a burgeoning interest in privacy and data protection.  Apparently there is a 135 hr training requirement, but no one seems to be able to point me to an equivalent training that’s both available in English and online.

Okay, fine. So sue me for living in a French province in a bilingual country and asking for resources in English. I get it, there’s a charter to protect the French language from being overwhelmed in a predominantly English-language culture. But still. We can do both, right? I think that’s the ideal.

Anyway, I’ve been simultaneously querying a variety of agencies for help: from associations, to training providers, to provincial authorities in neighboring Ontario. My hobby is emailing people I don’t know, with some weird questions. So I’m actually pretty used to this now.

Ontario has, by comparison, an only 50 hr training requirement which is significantly less than Quebec. Unclear still if you have to actually *be* a resident of that province to be licensed there.

I don’t know though what your practice would conceivably consist of though. If you’re licensed in one province, but operating in another. Maybe I’m going about all this in the completely wrong direction.  One possible pathway would be to have the operating province recognize the license given in the other. But for what benefit and to what eventual end?

I’m really not an expert on these things. I’m just someone with a lot of questions. ? ❓ But here’s the thing you find when you start asking the people or the agencies, or the people who are out there and who *are* the experts: no one necessarily knows the answer. The questions may never have been asked before. A specific pre-built answer may require interpretation and invention.

And few people acting in official capacities are comfortable being publicly wrong. So it’s a natural human response, I’m sure, to just not to want to answer weirdos with questions. At least that’s commonly where I end up on these hare-brained tangents of mine where I end up emailing a dozen different people for help or answers with a specific question or problem.

There exists, a certain, I guess we could call it ‘tenacity of research‘ which one may possess or perhaps develop as a personality trait… such that following through with it in fullness, and learning to harness and direct it, may actively create answers that didn’t exist before through a radical act of questioning. In the course of asking and answering certain questions, you may through patience and persistence become the eventual expert. You might just invoke an unthing into being.

I don’t know what any of this means, though vis-a-vis where we started. Except, if you gotta ?, then ?. If you look and you find there’s no answer, you make one out of what’s available and what you can dream up.

 

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