Since Facebook has us all thinking about just how much of our personal information is out on the web, I conducted a simple experiment this morning:
I entered my name into Google
The first group of items that returned were no surprise: Links to articles I’d be quoted in, old stories on me from back when I was in the business world, who I am on Twitter, etc. I expected that.
But then came wave after wave of sites that claimed to have all the information on me going back to the time of my birth, and for just $49, they’d sell it all to you. Many offered teasers in the first paragraph, and after scrolling through them I saw not only my name, but how old I am, my address, my home phone, the names of my wife and daughter, every town I’ve ever lived in, the addresses and home phone numbers of those places, etc.
About the only thing I didn’t see was my cell phone number, social security number and blood type. The rest is out there. Most even offer you the opportunity to click on a link near my address so you can see an aerial photo of my neighborhood and directions for how to drive right to my home so as to not inconvenience you if you decide to stalk me.
This is more than Facebook. It’s like every credit card application, every company you’ve ever registered with, every time you’ve interacted with the business world, someone has sold your information, and companies out there compile it in a database and try to sell it.
It’s like, why even try?