Google Destroying Whatever Privacy You Thought You Had

from the and-like-that,-he's-gone dept

There’s a great part in the book High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby, where he talks about how exciting it was to meet people (mainly women) after going away to school. When you were a kid, everyone knew your past, your embarassing moments and other such things you want to forget. But, once you left that world, you could be anyone you wanted to be with any past. That might be changing. The NY Times (in their evil registration required way) has an article all about the ways in which Google has removed your last chance at anonymity. Your silly past (or, at least, the online parts of it) are there for anyone to dredge up and embarass you with. This also leads to various misconceptions and wrongfully attributed actions. Some people are even desperately wishing they had a more common name, with which to disappear into the data stream. Overall, though, I think the fear is overblown. If you did something online, you did it publicly, and there’s really no reason to be upset when Google finds it.

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Comments on “Google Destroying Whatever Privacy You Thought You Had”

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Chris (user link) says:

No Subject Given

I think the primary lesson here is to not believe anything you readon the Net unless you can verify it with another source, or it confirms what you already know to be true! That said, I do occasionally google my social security number and phone number – to date I haven’t found either on the web. I have also seached Google Groups with every old email address that I can remember. The only danger to me out there is that somebody will assume I was an alcoholic in the mid nineties due to the number of posts to the rec.homebrewing newsgroup!

lorenzo (user link) says:

you end up in google even if you don t do things o

I have been working in an Internet company for 24 months already (see the URL) but managed to keep my names strictly offline for a long long while. Then, friend of mine asked me to lecture a group of EU bureacrats about newmedia startups, and the bureacrats thought well to post meeting’s minutes on a webiste. Then portals linking my site could associate it ot a real name and did it etc etc.
thanks gawd (contrary to what I told EU bureacrats) company isn t successful therefore my name isn t well positioned in google search, but it kinda annoys me anyhow

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