People Search is Scary

By oish330oish330 (1261692406|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

After our class on People Search, I thought it would be interesting to see what I could dig up about myself using a handful of the tools we talked about. I realize that it will probably be easy to find my phone number since it is publicly listed as well as listed under my company Elemental Brothers DJ. Let's see what happens..

  • Sex Offender Finder - This search engine is very easy to use, dragging the map around can be a helpful way to find the safest areas to live before moving to a new area. Fortunately, Ann Arbor is a pretty safe area and there are no sex offenders anywhere near my area. On the other hand, where I will be living next year (Philadelphia) has many offenders. Now I am a little scared…
  • Criminal Offense Search - Luckily, nothing showed up for me on this (and it shouldn't!). However, I did find some dirt on some of my friends. I am shocked at how easy and accessible this information is, it just makes me wonder how many companies use these tools to dig up information on possible employees.
  • Pipl - Interestingly enough, Pipl did not find that much information about me. I expected that this site (particularly with its Deep Web emphasis) would be more accurate than some of the others. I was surprised that it did not find my facebook page, but instead did pull up a link to campusgroups with information about Ross Student Government.
  • Private Eye - Found my entire family in less than 2 seconds. Scary.
  • Public Record Finder - One of many Intelius-based public record search engines, this one linked through to an Intelius search that pulled up information about me and both my parents instantly. If I was willing to pay, supposedly it would also be able to give my age, DOB, phone number, address, favorite food, and GPS location… okay maybe not all that info, but close.
  • Facesaerch - This site scares me a bit. I know that it's just based on Google image search, but it just makes it so easy to find pictures of people, including myself and my family members. The simple interface is easier to scan through than Google Image Search and I surprisingly found a picture of myself pretty quickly.

Conclusion

After trying out a bunch of the people search sites, I was surprised by the information some of the sites found. From Student Government paperwork to my picture, it is pretty surprising how accessible information is. The internet has many fantastic things going on, but with the proliferation of knowledge and information comes a sincere risk to privacy and security. In particular, Google is a great yet scary tool. Storing all their information from day one with no guarantees of what they will do with it in the future, one day the world may not love Google as much as it currently does. Let's hope that does not happen, but in the mean time we have organizations like Google-Watch to advocate privacy over the internet.

Fortunately for me, I do not have anything negative out there on the internet, like a criminal record, and it is also fortunate to not see any misleading information. It seems that the search engines are more accurate than one would assume since there are so many similar names in existence. In the future, I plan to keep up with the stream of information available on the internet about me. Hopefully, nothing negative will ever show up.

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