Friday, October 12, 2007
But googling can also be shocking and scary I was appalled at finding a few of my articles running on some of "those sites", better known as adult/porn venues. EEK! I immediately found someone at my service provider to guide me through getting it off!
There's a new fright in town in connection with Google One I feel compelled to bring up in this essay. It seems the search engine has implemented a handy new feature that allows internet users to type in any phone number and it will provide the person's name and address. It also allows you to click on a mapquest.com link and get directions to the address listed to that phone number. This is a very convenient tool when used for good, but as too many of us have learned-anything that can be used for the good of mankind, can also be used for bad!
I discovered this bit of information while reading a flier from the city offices where I work at me "day job".
To be sure this wasn't some rumor I tried it-this is the personal data I was served up with my home phone number:
MY NAME (of course)
MY HUSBAND'S AND SON'S FULL NAME
MY HOME ADDRESS
MY PERSONAL AND MY WORK E-MAIL ADDRESSES
plus the fact that I am a freelance writer. With my work e-mail, anyone would also very quickly know where I go from 9-5, Monday-Friday. Next-I did click on the mapquest link, sure enough, I had directions to my home.
This is as scary as it is disconcerting.
Now you are probably thinking the same thing I did-who would have my phone number without my approval? Think about some of these situations:
How many times are you asked for your phone number by a salesperson? They probably know your name, but what about a co-worker you don't see? Drop your pet off at the vet or make a personal appointment (doctor, lawyer, hair, nails, etc)they may see your phone number and be curious who goes with the cryptic information.
Fortunately, if you aren't comfortable having your personal data made public, you can access www.google.com, type in your information, and click the "request to remove" feature.
Yes, I want someone to contact me for possible writing job offers, but at the same time I do not want them to know my home address and be able to come up to my front door. That's on a strictly need to know basis.
Privacy and safety need to be considered first. Today we never truly know who or how many people have our very private details at their fingertips, but I know I'd sure love to pare it down to less than the entire free world.
Here in Canada we can go to Canada411 and type in someone's phone number and get their name, address and a map to their home. We have been able to do this for years...and yes, it is scary if it's in the wrong hands...esp if you have young kids. There are a lot of crazy people out there.
after we tried this in my office, one co-worker took it home to show his wife-she said there was an actual site, people search, I believe that would give even more than this! It is out there, but for something as big as google to provide the info is what amazed me. Not everyone will search out the other sites, but almost everyone uses Google.com
PS-my best to you and your family more than usual
When I googled my name, I did find my blog twice and my name on a personal trainer's list from years ago after I got my ACE degree. Other than that, apparently I'm a very famous literary agent, Sports Illustrated reporter, and a "Gracie-winning web producer", whatever that is!!
Ego surfing for me ironically produces a number of hits for people with my name, but none of them me. Oh, well. I prefer anonymity anyway.