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Privacy Uncovered

Updated on September 16, 2009


 Knowledge is power they say. Well there is so much information online these days one has to wonder where it starts being an invasion of privacy.

If you have a profile on social networking sites like myspace, facebook, linkedin(which is used exclusively for business purposes) you can pretty much kiss your privacy good-bye. Most people who frequent these sites already know there is no privacy. The whole purpose is to connect with friends and let everyone know what is going on in your life. However, you don't have to be on these sites or even on the internet for that matter to have much of your personal information accessible by anyone who wants it.

The first step for anyone looking for more information on someone is to google them. For the most information they will use several search engines and plug their name into social networking sites like facebook, myspace and others. They may even search by email address(if they have it) on personal dating sites. They may even try to start a conversation via a personals site or social networking site. And of course let's not forget those public records sites that offer a wealth of information on people such as what they own, drive and much more.

Recently it has come to media light about how debt collectors are now using sites like facebook and myspace to find debtors. There are several blogs online addressing this very issue and asking if this should be illegal. Well, for one, I'm not sure how anyone would control it. Secondly, if someone puts a profile out there for anyone to see then they cant complain if a creditor finds them. The information is out there for all to see. What I don't think is right is pretending to be someone they aren't and befriending someone in an effort to gather information. I don't agree with posting damaging information on a relatives profile in an effort to shame the debtor into paying.

This very thing happened. A debt collector found a debtors daughter on myspace and then proceeded to post his debts on her profile for all to see. There is a lawsuit pending in this case. And I think there should be.

Recently, there was the case of Jenny Anderson on Facebook. Many have probably heard of this where she, Jenny(not her real name) signed up and sent friend requests to 658 debtors and gathered as much information as she could. The flip side of this is no one had to befriend her and no one had to post personal information about himself/herself.

 Now many may be thinking they have no debt or debt that is unpaid therefore no one is looking for them and they may be absolutely right. However, there is one small problem with this thinking where one must think outside the box. That being if a debt collector can gather information so easily(and all he/she is going to do is attempt collection of monies owed) anyone who wants information to use it for nefarious purposes can.

Think of it this way, it could just be a debt collector looking for you, on the other hand it could be a stalker, snoop, busybody, anyone who wants information about you.

Until I researched this further by googling my own name and searching for myself online and in public records did I understand how easily a stalker can find his victim. Then it became quite clear.

This isn't about avoiding a debt collector or skirting around the law if you are a wanted person or avoiding a judgment enforcer, etc. This is about protecting your privacy.

There are many facets to this subject that one should be aware of.

Next I will talk about privacy and stalking and being safe.


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