A security hole in MySpace, which emerged last fall, spilled at least 17 gigabytes of photos into the public. A significant portion of the images came from “private” profiles. Learning this persuaded me to check on my “private” information and reinforced my hesitation to socialize online.
A month ago, I was ungoogleable. I know, I tried every variation of my name and couldn’t find anything, even after looking through 10 pages of results. Today, when I Google “Andrew VanWagoner”, my LinkedIn profile is the first result. It has a link to this blog, and one to the site for my never-finished book. “The TaleCrafter” yields this blog and my book’s site again. As I searched, I was glad to find I had kept my email, phone number, and address inconspicuous. Yet, if stalkers could access my college directory or Facebook profile, they would have all my contact information and more.
What can average Joe do to keep himself from prying eyes? In this age: nothing. Every site worth participating in requires at least an email, if not a phone number and address. I’m not suggesting Joe stay off the internet, refuse to use phones, or lock himself in his apartment; I’m simply saying that what he does is usually visible, so he should keep his MySpace profile–and his life–clean. He may not keep his privacy, but he can still keep his decency.
Additional reading: Privacy vs. Productivity