How Much Privacy Have We Lost?

The Hartford Courant has an article from The Chicago Tribune, How Much Privacy Have We Lost? (which I couldn’t find on the Tribune’s site), by Eric Benderoff and Jon Van, about just how much privacy we have lost in this day and age. It’s a two-page article and worth a read – even as we are happy the internet can help companies provide incredible amounts of genealogy information, they are also providing incredible amounts of personal information about living individuals.

Excerpt from the article:

Indeed, people now should assume that an extraordinary amount of personal information is readily accessible to casual acquaintances or strangers, be it the price paid for a house or the details of a nasty divorce.

A quick Google search can reveal where someone went to high school, an old resume or a casual – even catty – reference on someone’s Web log. Dig deeper, and court records and other official documents can reveal who was arrested for driving under the influence.

As courts and other agencies digitize this information, entrepreneurs have figured out how to tap into this broad database that records the private lives of everyday Americans. And in places where officials have not yet put the information online, companies have sent out workers to manually scan the documents, said Jim Dempsey, policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Websites such as Abika.com, Records-search.net, Reverse records.org, and even genealogy sites, such as Ancestry.com, make this information accessible for a fee.

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