Monday, February 14, 2005

Google and privacy

Technoflak just received the following email-

Warning about Google-No privacy here

Google has implemented a new feature wherein you can type someone's telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and then you will be given a map to their house. Everyone should be aware of this! Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked. Before forwarding this, I tested it by typing my telephone number in My phone number came up, and when I clicked on the MapQuest link, it actually mapped out where I live. Quite scary. Please look up your own number. Read below for details. Think about it--if a child, gives out his/her phone number to someone they can actually now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The safety
issues are obvious, and alarming.

In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to: Google
Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-1212) and hit enter. If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private information,simply click on your phone number. Removal takes 48-hours. If you are unlisted in the phone book, you might not be in there, but it is a good idea just to check. If your number does come up if you hit map, it will show you a direct map to your house... Please forward on to friends and family

Memo to Google, strongly suggest you remove this feature for all but commercial and government listings before close of business eastern time.


Tom said...

This has actually been going on for quite a while, and the email has been floating around a good year now. I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up too much, but considering you can reverse lookup any phone number through a variety of places and in turn pull up a phone book listing, it's not really something that Google has done that's anything less than remove steps, frankly.

Alice said...

Not everyone has access to the Haines directory. Putting this on Google opens access to far more people, some of them seedy characters.

Google should do what it can to protect privacy and not put the burden on the individual. Protecting privacy is good public relations.