Dec 03 2010
My friend Adrian Lane, over at Securosis, finds the best toys to play with. This one, called Spokeo, lets you search on a name and see what sort of personal information is out there about that person. Like Adrian, I always search on myself first, wanting to see what sort of information is out there about me. And there’s a lot of it; even someone like myself who wishes they had some privacy leaks a lot of information, even if its just in public records. Luckily I have a father with the same name, so our information is a little mixed up, with a sprinkling of misinformation added in. If I can’t have privacy, having false information available to search engines is a good second.
The funniest part of looking up myself was finding my house in Streetview, which is offered directly in the Spokeo interface, then turning the camera around to see myself getting out of the car. The picture’s about two years old, but it still jogged some memories of seeing the Google car drive by. The picture is blurring and it’d be hard to recognize me from it, but there it is. Being in a public place (the road), I’m not surprised to be photographed, but it does serve as a reminder of how often we’re being photographed in public, even if we are seldom aware of it. That is to say that people who don’t live with a mild form of paranoia are seldom aware of.