Background checks are now fully mobile, thanks BeenVerified‘s new app for Android and the re-release of the app on iOS. The Background Check App does exactly as you might expect: It pulls data from BeenVerified’s site and allows you to check up on the people you know through name queries or email addresses. Users can check up on their contacts with one click, allowing you to see how many times the person in the cubicle next to you has been arrested. Luckily, I have a spotless record, or else I wouldn’t be writing this. Right, BeenVerified?
When the Background Check App first dropped in 2009, it was downloaded nearly a million times in less then a month. Thanks to this aggressive downloading (and some questions over privacy issues), Apple actually pulled the app from its app store after a few weeks. But, this month, after lengthy conversations with Apple, BeenVerified was able to assuage Apple’s concerns, and has now re-released the app with their blessing. In the first four days, the app was downloaded over 14K times.
As Reputation.com’s Michael Fertik told TechCrunch’s Andrew Keen, the issue of privacy is gearing up to be “the next big thing in the online economy”, and people are becoming are now more willing than ever to pay for online services that keep cookies at bay and protect their web-based reputations. As social media has become ubiquitous, and the Web proliferates, it’s no wonder that our perception of privacy is being categorically altered. Some, would say “threatened”, while others would argue it’s a natural part of our digital evolution.
Regardless of where you come down on that question, a lot of the information on the Web is shady to say the least, and people still want to know that those they’re doing business with, or dating, or interacting with, are trustworthy and not out to do harm. The social web is moving forward at lightning speed, and with services like Airbnb, Match, Craiglist, and umpteen others, the gap between virtual and physical worlds is narrowing. As this is the case, the demand for 3rd party, objective public record information about those we meet on the web is increasing exponentially, especially in cases like, say, who we’re renting our apartments to on Airbnb, and we want this information accessible on-the-go.
Thus, BeenVerified’s mission is to make background checks accessible — and more importantly, affordable — which is why the app is free to download and each user gets one free background check a month that includes criminal, age, and address history. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all free. If users want more than one report a month, additional checks can be purchased through in-app payments for $9.95 a pop.
While BeenVerified has already served over 10 million free background checks and is providing unlimited free reverse phone lookups through its mobile and web app NumberGuru, there are certainly some questions over just how much access there is to personal information and how pervasive it is. Can I really just search for anyone in the U.S. and pull their background info?
Not quite. BeenVerified Director of Communications Danny Canarick told me that most criminal records are stored and maintained at the county level, yet as one might imagine, not all 3,100+ counties in the U.S. have made digital versions of their records available yet. Which is why the company began a “Court Runner” service, which, for a small fee, directs a real-live court runner to go to the local courthouse to pull actual hardcopies of the records and to create a one-off digital version. While this service is currently only available through the BeenVerified site, Canarick says that the company plans to bring it to mobile in the very near future.
Currently, the company’s apps have digital access to criminal convictions in 46 states, and arrest warrant data from portions of 35 states. This data comes directly from the administrative offices of courts, departments of public safety, departments of correction, etc.
And, finally, for those TechCrunch readers out there looking to try this out and educate themselves on public record data, for the next seven days, all in-app background checks will be available for 99 cents. So, readers, check out the Background Check App and let us know what you think.
For more, check out the video below: