Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nowhere to Hide - the End of Privacy

I go to some lengths to keep my personal information private. Unlisted phone, P.O. Box for mail, and other security measures. Magazine subscriptions I usually donate to the local library. (I can find them whenever I want them, even the back issues, and they don't clutter up my life.) Keeping your private information private has been getting harder and harder to do as technology wends its way through our lives. Now at last, it seems that it may be impossible.

In Independent Women's Forum: Stalking Made Easy L.A. prosecutor Rhonda Saunders, who helped write the nation's first anti-stalking law, relates a somewhat disturbing story.
We had a victim, and her stalker was about to get out of prison, and we wanted to know how much info was out there, so we actually paid the $25 fee to go on one of these search engines. She had changed her name, changed her address, changed her job, and this search engine turned up her new name, Social Security number, unlisted phone number, where she lived, the names of her neighbors and the names of her family members.
You cannot disappear anymore. This women moved away, changed her name and SSN, and was easy to find for $25. The online databases have every piece of information about you down to your habbits. (How do you think they detect credit card fraud?)

You cannot run from your troubles but must be prepared to face them.

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