Are You Watching Me?

I've been getting phone calls lately from folks who are looking for another individual who shares my name. This is kinda intriguing to me, because my phone number is purposefully not listed under my name (because of this name sharing individual). Its listed under my initials. So, I asked my new phone friends how they got my number (which has never been listed under my full name) and was only slightly surprised when my new pre-teen friend answered, "from google".

So, I googled my name and sure enough on the 3rd page I found www.123people.com which listed the last 4 or 5 addresses and phone numbers I've had (too bad for you- its not there anymore- we requested it be removed!)

You can also go to www.spokeo.com and find everything from my zodiac sign to my house value (which is definitely NOT $1+ M, so they aren't exactly accurate with everything). For a fee, you can get my phone number and address (sorry again, you won't get the most recent info- we had it removed as well).

You can track a person across the country by seeing which traffic cameras and security videos they show up on and police officers are starting to wear body cams. Nanny cams have long been a controversial issue of privacy.

In some cities around me, there are red light cameras (and school zone cameras) that will take a picture of your license plate and mail you the ticket for running the red light (or speeding in the school zone). Everyone now has a camera on their phone and is not afraid to use it, as evidenced by the all too familiar video of the Seattle police officer in an altercation with a jay walking perpetrator.

In this day of modern technology, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's very hard to truly send a 'secret' message. If you text it or email it, it can go viral in a matter of minutes. For security purposes, our "chatter" is constantly monitored for key phrases.

Now, I believe some of this is absolutely necessary and I am willing to keep my police officers and children (etc) safe at the expense of a little privacy. (I mean- you shouldn't be getting pulled over or smacking a child around anyway). But, I have become increasinly more cautious with my personal info that is out on the internet (thank you very much Same Name Friend!). But, I want to know what you think. How much is too much of a privacy invasion? How far do you think it will go? And what privacy sacrifices are worth it to you, and why?

Whaddya think?


  1. I had a friend facebook me about an up coming interview she had with my husbands place of employment and how she didn't think she really wanted the job. Needless to say my husband (an asst. mgr.) and two other team managers saw this posting. And you are accurate in the assumption that she did not recieve this job. We all need to be careful about what we say and how much information we offer to other's. It scares me that anyone can find "you" by just a couple of key strokes and camera clicks. I just hope no one cares about me enough to REALLY look because I'm sure they would find what they are looking for (no matter how careful I try to be).

  2. How did you get your information removed from those sites? Thanks!

  3. We googled my name and went to each website individually and searched it to find the small, fine print to have your info removed. They all offer it, but they don't make it very easy. We saw one place where you can sign up for a service provider that does this for you on an ongoing basis for a monthly fee.

  4. Apparently my husband and I have had "some" college and he's a clerical worker. hmmm. A little close for comfort though.