California Senator Gets Confused Over Google Phone Book

from the let's-try-that-again... dept

A few months back, these “urgent” emails were getting passed around complaining about Google’s phone directory feature. If you have a listed phone number, you can put it into Google, and it will return your listing, along with a map to where you live. This is all public information. After the initial hype, most people realized this wasn’t a big deal at all. Now, however, a California state Senator has apparently received the email and freaked out. He’s somehow made the connection between that and identity theft and is raising a big stink about it. The connection is pretty weak. He says that someone may enter your phone number (where they got it, he doesn’t say…) figure out where you live, go to your house, steal your mail and then go on to commit identity theft. The fact that someone could (oh no!) pick up the local phone book and do the same thing doesn’t seem to occur to the guy. Even more to the point, the fact that someone could just (oh no!) walk down the street and open your mailbox and do the same thing doesn’t seem to occur to him either. The information is publicly available, so this makes no difference. The threat of identity theft occurring directly from this feature is slim to none – and I’m sure most folks involved with identity theft will tell you they have much better methods that don’t involve stealing anyone’s mail.

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