FOLSOM, Calif., -- Emergency-services workers can now use Blackberry devices to tap into a database of private information on 98 percent of the U.S. adult population, thanks to a new service offered by Earthlink, the third largest Internet service provider in the country. The database, run by LocatePlus, includes names, addresses, phone numbers, prior addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, real estate holdings, bankruptcies and criminal records. The new EarthLink effort is meant for police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency-services workers.

The EarthLink equipment augments the older generations of radios that are part of the daily life of a police officer or firefighter, according to an Earthlink spokesman. For instance, a police agency that's currently testing the gear is using it to more quickly find out who's supposed to be living inside a home that officers are staking out, he said. Under the EarthLink plan, the BlackBerry is free, but the service costs $99 a month.