Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Brother is Watching

Whoa! I guess Big Brother is definitely watching and one of his code names is Google. I got this information from my twins' group. Google has implemented a new feature which enables you to type a telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and you will be given the person's name and address. If you then hit Map at the end of the address, you will get a map to the person's house. Yikes! The safety issues of this are obvious.

I tried some random numbers, including both my home and cell numbers, and they came right up along with the Mapquest directions straight to my house for my home number. My cell number search brought up both my websites since that's the number I included on there. In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to Google, type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-5555) and hit enter. If you are listed, you’ll then see your address and a link for a map. Kinda scary, huh? You can have your phone number removed or blocked by simply clicking on your telephone number and then completing the removal form. Removal takes 48-hours and you can designate why you want to remove your number, including “privacy concerns”.

To note, this got me curious so I tried a couple other search engines. MSN brings up the same information, including the map, for my home number, and I don't see a way to remove it. Yahoo brought up one of my arts registry listings but not my home listing. Of course, there are dozens of websites out there through which you can pay for this information, but I guess the fact that it can so easily be had for free these days is a bit troubling. Our “information society” has truly made us all easy access. Check you own number, and although this may not apply to you if you have an unlisted number or a cell phone as your primary contact, you may know someone who needs to know this.

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1 comment:

Flights of Fab Fashion Fancy said...

Thanks so much for this post-there's absolutely no privacy these days! Very upsetting!