Do you know how much of your personal information already appears on the internet?
We have given everyone the option of listing their contact information as "private" in the Alumni Database. But most of you probably don't know that your information already appears on the internet, in full, on public search sites such as www.whitepages.com, www.zabasearch.com, and many others. For a fee, one can find even more information including homeowner's information, arrest records, marriage information, etc.
I've had a couple of people write me with concerns about the privacy of their information on this site. So I took their names and put them into whitepages.com and showed them that their information already appears online. If you have your name in a public utility, on a magazine subscription, if you've purchased items online, that information more than likely appears online, publicly.
I have been doing a search for all my classmates of 1978-1982 for our upcoming reunion Summer 2010. I joined a paid search site and have found 99% of the people I've searched for. That information is not always 100% correct, but it usually shows your birthdate, your address and phone numbers (sometimes going back 25 years or more), people you are related to or married to, and possible roommates.
Most of you are choosing to keep some or all of your information private in the database, and that's fine...it does make it harder for someone who might be looking for you for illegitimate reasons. But know that it won't stop someone from finding your information if they really want it. Below is a sample report on me.
As you can see, it shows my full name, age, birthdate, associated names, all my former addresses (even when I was in elemantary school!) my phone numbers, including one work number, my mom's name, my sister's name, and roommate's names. They do get portions of it wrong quite often, there is no "Jeffrey Andrist."
So while my first instinct would be to mark my information as "private" on this site, it's not going to be very effective since all my information is already available to anyone that wants it.
I just want to make you aware of what is available on the internet, and have you consider what you make available here. This is selfish on my part to a degree, as making your information private, makes a little more work for me when your friends and classmates want to find you. But I'm happy to do it if you prefer to keep your information private.
Having said that, cell phone numbers and email addresses are harder to find on the internet.