The Power of Data for Good: Spotlight by Thorn

By Lindsey Wilcox, Marketing Manager of our Whitepages Pro Team:

Alex Algard founded in his Stanford dorm room in 1997 and the Company now thrives by the guiding principle of “Data for Good.” Nearly 20 years and billions of identity links later, 120 Whitepagers across the globe are still guided by this core value, the foundation of which was laid in a time before Twitter, Facebook, and Google. To this end, the Pro team is focused on providing businesses with global identity verification solutions to help identify legitimate customers, prevent fraudulent transactions, and smooth new customer account creation across industries.

To better understand our customers and ensure we’re providing the most effective solutions, you can often find us out in the market at conferences, tradeshows, and hosted events. Throughout the year, our ECommerce Practice team heads around the country to host the Digital Identity + Commerce Tour (DICT). During our September stop in San Francisco, we were honored to have Kristin Boorse of Thorn as our keynote speaker. Thorn is a nonprofit that drives tech innovation to fight child sexual exploitation, partnering across the tech industry, government, and nonprofit sectors. The Thorn team brings together over twenty technology companies, including Snapchat, Microsoft, and Twilio, to lend their knowledge, time, and resources as part of the Thorn Technology Task Force. Thorn also invests in research collected in the field to inform programs and facilitate industry collaboration.

Spotlight, a tool developed by Thorn, is a web-based platform that assists law enforcement in identifying sex trafficking victims faster. Per Kristin, “The genesis of Spotlight started after we conducted a sex trafficking Survivor Survey in 2012, seeking to learn directly from victims how technology was used throughout their trafficking situation.  We found that seventy-five percent of underage sex trafficking victims reported they had been bought or sold online. Armed with this data, we worked with our technology partners and law enforcement to understand how these existing digital footprints could assist law enforcement in faster victim identification.  Hopeful that investigators could use technology to identify victims more quickly, we tested an early version of a potential tool among key agencies with promising results.” And thus, Spotlight was born.

Spotlight offers enforcement agencies compiled data from across jurisdictions and borders to allow for more streamlined investigations. The successes of the tool are a testament to the collaborative nature of the platform – over 3,500 officers use the tool in all 50 states.

“Spotlight is a force multiplier at every stage in the operation. This tool allows us to conduct faster, more precise investigations that will remove criminals from the street and, most importantly, recover victims.” – Federal Agent, Honolulu

In the past year, law enforcement has used Spotlight in nearly 8,000 cases, identifying an average of five kids per day, and helping officers solve cases up to 60% faster. THAT is the power of data for good.

Whitepages is proud of Thorn’s work to reduce human trafficking and assist law enforcement in identifying and disrupting child exploitation and prostitution rings globally. What’s most amazing is their continued innovation in using machine learning and big data to partner with government agencies. The sharing economy and omnipresence of the digital world in our everyday lives (see: internet of things) make it especially important that companies and agencies come together to bring diverse talents, resources, and ideas to the table to fight some of the world’s most challenging issues. We’re proud to feature forward-thinkers like Kristin and partner with companies at the forefront of these projects to bring Alex’s vision to life as we continue to move into an ever more complex and digitally-integrated society.

About Kristin Boorse
Kristin is the Senior Product Manager at Thorn. Kristin came to Thorn from 41st Parameter where she was Sr. Product Manager and developed the product strategy and roadmap for FraudNet – the leading web fraud detection software protecting the world’s premium brands against cyber fraud. Kristin has over 14 years of experience in product management, product marketing, online community development, business analysis and project management. She volunteers as a Team Captain for Team World Vision to raise awareness and funds to provide clean water to the world’s most vulnerable children in developing countries. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in Psychology from California Lutheran University.

Quick Takes
Whitepages Premium partners with Miracle Messages to help homeless individuals reconnect with their loved ones. Read more here.

Whitepages attended the nation’s Do Not Call Enforcement Summit with government security officials and carriers to tackle global phone spam and fraud. Update here.

Want to hear more about our vision and how we handle data? Let us know.

Your Summer Internship – Seeking Aspiring Engineers!

Written by Rachel Flanagan, Recruiter at Whitepages

Amidst mid-term exams, social activities, and homework, it may be daunting to also think about finding a summer internship. Although this may prove challenging, the time and effort definitely pay off, as an internship offers training, experience, and will help prepare you for a successful career. Here are some helpful steps to success:

The First Step: Your Resume! Always ensure that your resume is informative and up to date. Most schools provide helpful resume workshops through the Career Center. Be sure to utilize resources like these to create an eye-catching, professional resume.

The Next Step: Applying! There are several ways you can apply to internships, but one of the most successful ways is to start on your school’s job board. This will provide you with the most direct-to-the-source application. After applying, it can be helpful to follow up with the recruiter. You can generally find their contact information on the job board or through LinkedIn. Send the recruiter a note explaining why you are excited about the position and that you are eager to hear back. (Don’t be afraid of following up weekly until you receive a response!)

The Final Step: The Interview! Once you hear back, interviews will commence quickly! Ensure that you do your research about the company and are ready for the tough technical questions. Utilize online resources to get yourself as prepared as possible!

Here at Whitepages, we are looking for eager Engineering students that are at the top of their class. We appreciate activities that set someone apart, such as TA experience or previous internships. We’re also looking for students that are passionate about the craft of Engineering. We believe that with intelligence and drive our interns will be able to successfully ship code to production by the end of the summer.

If you are looking for a company that will allow you to make an impact on a product that serves over 55M users a month, this is the place for you!

To apply for an engineering internship at Whitepages please visit our Career Page.

Below are some photos of our 2016 Summer Internship Class (some are now current employees!)

#NotToday – Personal Empowerment for Whitepagers

This is a Whitepages Culture Focus, written by Erin Schindler, Accounting Manager

On Tuesday morning, March 25, 2017, a group of women from Whitepages and hundreds of other Seattle women and men gathered together to arm themselves with the skills of self-defense, a set of skills that each of us hopes we never have to use.

An unfortunate event recently hit very close to home with the Whitepages team. Our former employee, Kelly Herron, was attacked on a Sunday afternoon run when she stopped to use a public restroom. Kelly had recently attended a self-defense class provided by her current employer, RealSelf. The skills Kelly learned at that class saved her life that Sunday afternoon.

Kelly could have stayed quiet, reducing her experience to a statistic, but she decided to make her story known and help spread awareness of violence against women. Her story has been documented all over the world and has helped empower women to realize their inner strength and power to fight back in the event of an attack.

In light of Kelly’s experience, Realself hosted another class open to the public.

Self-Defense class with Fighting Chance Seattle, sponsored by RealSelf.

The four main points of the class with Fighting
Chance Seattle
are as follows:

Trust your intuition
Respond Immediately
Be Loud & Fight Hard
Hard Bones to Soft Spots


Below are some testimonials from our Whitepages attendees:

Why did you want to take the course?

Kelly’s story brought to light the fact that these attacks can happen at any time, anywhere. I avoid walking alone in dark alleys at night, but that’s not enough.

As a visibly trans woman, I am at a high risk of assault and wanted to take this course to give myself more tools to defend myself in the event of an attack.

To feel safer and more equipped to handle the unexpected.

What do you feel you got out of taking the class?

I really liked the simple equation that space = time. By honoring our space, we’re buying ourselves time to breathe and react appropriately.

Self-defense tools that involve only what I have on me at all times (my body!)

I really liked how it focused on your own mindset and not just how to physically defend yourself, the trainer emphasized how important it is to breathe, know your own boundaries, and to trust your instincts.

What was your biggest takeaway from the class?

To protect myself with the same ferocity with which I would protect a dearly loved family member.

Be strong, use your power, and yell!

I loved how so many people rallied together to make this an important event in our community. It was pretty empowering to stand in a room with hundreds of other women, shouting NO! over and over at the top of our lungs.

To learn more about Kelly’s story, check out her interview from Good Morning America