Camellia Sinensis (camellia_uk) wrote,
Camellia Sinensis
camellia_uk

The devil's in the details

As part of some research I'm doing for work, I've been looking at the amount of personal details freely available about a person online. This is something I do actually think about, and have looked into how much of my data is easily found before. Still, the more you look into it, the more paranoid it gets you, and the more you find things that you didn't realise were there. For example, through a simple search of my name on a few choice sites (without logging in or registering anywhere) I can find:

  • My date of birth

  • The names of my family, including my mother's maiden name

  • My place of birth

  • My home town

  • My personal email address

  • Where I work, details of two previous jobs, where I did my degree and what degrees I have

  • Lots of photos of me

All this as well as any professional information, e.g. papers I may have written or conferences attended. And I'm someone who is careful about my personal information. What you can't find are my phone number or my current address, but with a tiny fee paid for a search of the electoral register this could easily be found. It really makes you think, not to mention worry. From not trying very hard, I have pretty much the whole contents of my CV available, plus details such as date of birth and mother's maiden name that are commonly used as security questions (although not by me if I have the option). And if you think it's just me, I will gladly search for details about anyone on my friends list and let you know what's out there. When was the last time you checked how secure your data was? Do you think before putting personal details on Facebook, blogs, Amazon wishlists? And, of course, does it matter?
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