• Zanna Johns

Privacy Lost

A few weeks ago, I had a little too much time on my hands and Googled myself. I should've known better. I read somewhere years ago that you should never do that. Too bad I didn't follow that advice, because the results of my search were mildly horrifying.

I found my name, date of birth and address. I also found my home number. (I know—the fact that I still have a home phone is a whole other issue.) My home phone is not even in my name, but somehow it is listed for me on the internet. I was not so pleased with that.

The site even listed my mother's name, age and address.

That's a whole lot of information out there about me. And it's not on one of those sites where you pay. It's free to the public. Some non-law abiding citizen can steal my identity with very little effort.

In spite of my extreme annoyance at finding that information online, here's the thing that really bothered me: The site listed my vehicle's make, model and year. Why would that information be online? It's ridiculous.

I work with criminals for a living. It's not very comforting to know that they can whip out their cell phones and get my address and phone number. If they decide to pay me a visit, it should be easy enough for them to figure out which apartment is mine. After all, they'll also know what vehicle I drive.

I've gone to pretty good lengths to not put personal information out there. I don't use my real name on any web sites. I don't post personal pictures. My cell phone is prepaid, which I think means it's not linked to me. I don't own a smart TV.

Not very happy to learn that all my effort to protect my privacy was for nothing. I've always known that Big Brother was watching, but apparently, he's not the only one!


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