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Friday, October 12, 2007


Safety First

Googling oneself is fun-sometimes. Safety comes first. I found out a few fun things: someone thinks of my blog as "up and coming" and according to (Orange County News) not only am I a blogger for the county, I'm also a young, pretty black woman.

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 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)
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, 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.

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