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The other day I started looking into Google – you know, the whole Google +1 thing and linking my profile to my blog and twitter. That of course got me started on a whole other topic and so I couldn’t help but google myself (don’t look down on me, you know you’ve done it too). What I found surprised me.
For starters, apparently there are at least two other people in the world with my exact same name. Okay, we probably don’t share middle names (though now I’m thinking I should check) but I had been under the impression my name was relatively obscure. I know ‘Tamara’ has become more popular since I was born, but seriously, my surname is a little weird if you ask me.
The other shock factor I got was just how much information was available to anyone who searched my name. Did you know there is a website called DatingSPY? I’m not kidding. Apparently you can not only find information such as birthday, photo, where they live, family members, but there are links to dating site profiles that might be who you’re looking for. Is it just me or is that providing stalkers, kidnappers and murderers with too much information. Just in case you’re curious I promptly removed my profile and then proceeded to go through the masses of privacy settings on facebook.
I know I shouldn’t really have been surprised, after all, I’ve never really worried too much about what information is available to others. I’m not saying I took intentional risks – I’ve never put my address on the internet and consider myself relatively careful when it comes to this blog. I just didn’t realise how easy I was to track. (In real life I mean as the whole point of having a blog and twitter is to become more visible online).
I have to wonder if I’m being paranoid here. Or should we really be worried about privacy (or the lack thereof) at all? We are living in a digital age and the truth is that every movement we make online is being tracked (admit it, Google probably knows more about you than you do) to create better ad-targeting and to help us in our searches find what we want quicker (so I am told). So where do we draw the line?
Are you worried about the amount of information about you that is available on the web? Do you try and keep everything private or have you decided that other battles are more important?