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Title    Mozilla Drops Onerep After CEO Admits to Running People-Search Networks
Date    Sunday March 24, @11:05PM
Author    janrinok
Topic   
from the dept.
https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=24/03/23/167253

upstart writes:

Mozilla Drops Onerep After CEO Admits to Running People-Search Networks:

The nonprofit organization that supports the Firefox web browser said today it is winding down its new partnership with Onerep, an identity protection service recently bundled with Firefox that offers to remove users from hundreds of people-search sites. The move comes just days after a report by KrebsOnSecurity forced Onerep's CEO to admit that he has founded dozens of people-search networks over the years.

Mozilla only began bundling Onerep in Firefox last month, when it announced the reputation service would be offered on a subscription basis as part of Mozilla Monitor Plus. Launched in 2018 under the name Firefox Monitor, Mozilla Monitor also checks data from the website Have I Been Pwned? to let users know when their email addresses or password are leaked in data breaches.

On March 14, KrebsOnSecurity published a story showing that Onerep's Belarusian CEO and founder Dimitiri Shelest launched dozens of people-search services since 2010, including a still-active data broker called Nuwber that sells background reports on people. Onerep and Shelest did not respond to requests for comment on that story.

But on March 21, Shelest released a lengthy statement wherein he admitted to maintaining an ownership stake in Nuwber, a consumer data broker he founded in 2015 — around the same time he launched Onerep.

Shelest maintained that Nuwber has "zero cross-over or information-sharing with Onerep," and said any other old domains that may be found and associated with his name are no longer being operated by him.

"I get it," Shelest wrote. "My affiliation with a people search business may look odd from the outside. In truth, if I hadn't taken that initial path with a deep dive into how people search sites work, Onerep wouldn't have the best tech and team in the space. Still, I now appreciate that we did not make this more clear in the past and I'm aiming to do better in the future." The full statement is available here (PDF).

In a statement released today, a spokesperson for Mozilla said it was moving away from Onerep as a service provider in its Monitor Plus product.

"Though customer data was never at risk, the outside financial interests and activities of Onerep's CEO do not align with our values," Mozilla wrote. "We're working now to solidify a transition plan that will provide customers with a seamless experience and will continue to put their interests first."

KrebsOnSecurity also reported that Shelest's email address was used circa 2010 by an affiliate of Spamit, a Russian-language organization that paid people to aggressively promote websites hawking male enhancement drugs and generic pharmaceuticals. As noted in the March 14 story, this connection was confirmed by research from multiple graduate students at my alma mater George Mason University.

Shelest denied ever being associated with Spamit. "Between 2010 and 2014, we put up some web pages and optimize them — a widely used SEO practice — and then ran AdSense banners on them," Shelest said, presumably referring to the dozens of people-search domains KrebsOnSecurity found were connected to his email addresses (dmitrcox@gmail.com and dmitrcox2@gmail.com). "As we progressed and learned more, we saw that a lot of the inquiries coming in were for people."

[...] The March 14 story on Onerep was the second in a series of three investigative reports published here this month that examined the data broker and people-search industries, and highlighted the need for more congressional oversight — if not regulation — on consumer data protection and privacy.

On March 8, KrebsOnSecurity published A Close Up Look at the Consumer Data Broker Radaris, which showed that the co-founders of Radaris operate multiple Russian-language dating services and affiliate programs. It also appears many of their businesses have ties to a California marketing firm that works with a Russian state-run media conglomerate currently sanctioned by the U.S. government.

On March 20, KrebsOnSecurity published The Not-So-True People-Search Network from China, which revealed an elaborate web of phony people-search companies and executives designed to conceal the location of people-search affiliates in China who are earning money promoting U.S. based data brokers that sell personal information on Americans.


Original Submission

Links

  1. "upstart" - https://soylentnews.org/~upstart/
  2. "Mozilla Drops Onerep After CEO Admits to Running People-Search Networks" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/2024/03/mozilla-drops-onerep-after-ceo-admits-to-running-people-search-networks/
  3. "Mozilla Monitor Plus" - https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/legal/terms/subscription-services/
  4. "Firefox Monitor" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_Monitor
  5. "Have I Been Pwned?" - https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  6. "published a story" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/2024/03/ceo-of-data-privacy-company-onerep-com-founded-dozens-of-people-search-firms/
  7. "here" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Dimitri-Shelest-Letter-_-Comment-on-Krebs-article-3.20.24-1.pdf
  8. "Spamit" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/?s=spamit
  9. "A Close Up Look at the Consumer Data Broker Radaris" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/2024/03/a-close-up-look-at-the-consumer-data-broker-radaris/
  10. "The Not-So-True People-Search Network from China" - https://krebsonsecurity.com/2024/03/the-not-so-true-people-search-network-from-china/
  11. "Original Submission" - https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=62392

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printed from SoylentNews, Mozilla Drops Onerep After CEO Admits to Running People-Search Networks on 2024-06-17 22:46:51