Background checking in the palm of the hand
That hot babe in finance? Did 5 years in jail. Men's jail
The properly paranoid can now relax, BeenVerified is available for Android and iPhone platforms: so you can check out the history of anyone you meet instantly - if they're American, anyway.
The service has been around as a website for a while, checking different publicly available sources of information and compiling a report on any individual based on their name and State of residence. Gizmodo notes the mobile release, and interestingly argues that the app is in no way creepy despite the promotional video which makes it look pretty disturbing:
BeenVerified is the company behind "Sex Offender Tracker", which purports to show a real-time radar giving the location of local sex offenders, though the reviews suggest the information isn't always accurate.
Gizmodo's point is that we're all just going to have to get used to everyone we meet knowing everything there is to know about us, something explored delightfully in Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, but not necessarily a world in which many of us would be comfortable.
But unless we adopt Eric Schmidt's idea of changing identities every now and then we'll have to modify that old saying: There's no strangers in this world, only people on whom you've not yet run a background check. ®