TechNewsDaily, via NBC News, reports on “doxing” (a.k.a. “document tracing”) and how it can affect the privacy of individuals:
[The Internet is] also a place for people or companies to pick up even more information about you. That includes your address, gender, date of birth and, with a little sleuthing, your Social Security number and credit history.
That’s been made clear in a recent spate of “doxing” (document tracing) of celebrities that revealed, for example, that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had an outstanding debt on his credit card. But none of this information comes from hacking. It’s either already public or accessible by, for example, paying an online people-finding service to get a Social Security number, and then running a credit check.
Then there’s all the data you pour into social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare and others. Now employers can fire workers for expressing opinions they don’t like, strangers can stalk you with mobile apps and college administrators can judge the quality of applicants by the number of drinking photos posted to their account. […]
Many gun owners felt that secondary use of private information when they saw an interactive map published by the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., that listed the name and addresses of everyone in two New York state counties with a gun permit. A map listing the names, addresses, phone numbers and social media accounts of Journal News reporters, including the author of the original story, was circulated online in retaliation. At least one county refused to turn over pistol permit records, citing the possibility of “endangering citizens.”
However, the records are all public. There is no law against publishing them either in print or online, even if it makes some uncomfortable. […]
Other sites, such as Arrests.org, list mug shots by state. And some local police departments are now posting photos of recent arrests on Facebook. Now with the Internet and databases, public records are easy to distribute and see.
Adi Kamdar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation cautions about the use of Facebook Graph Search, which allows users to search information from news feeds of friends and those users with settings set to public on Facebook. Now anyone can look for, for example, single women living in San Francisco who share their taste for tapas and perhaps find a phone number and email address. Who needs Match.com anymore?
Read the full article for suggestions on what you can do to protect some of your personal information.