Time for a name change?
How many of your secrets are available on Google? Its CEO has said that one day, some of us may have to change our names to escape our digital past.
August 23, 2010 4:14 by Sam Potter
He also highlights a disturbing new development: “Some banks are using services like Rapleaf to scan your social network and identify contacts connected with you that also do business with the financial institution. Based on the financial stability and credit history of your social network connections, the bank can make an assumption about what sort of credit risk you might be.” If true, this represents a shocking escalation of the use of online data.
Finally, Bradley points out that social networking evidence has become a key piece of ammunition in many divorce battles and break-ups. There are, apparently, wives claiming in divorce court they can’t work while applying for jobs on LinkedIn, and husbands’ new girlfriends tweeting about fantastic new jewelry they’ve been given (which amounts to marital assets being disbursed to a third party). It’s a minefield, as Bradley observes: “the Internet never forgets and it has zettabytes of archived storage capacity that can be searched in seconds thanks to companies like Google.”
Kipp hopes this is a message that we more mature professionals realized early. Having experienced the development of social networks at a certain age we had already developed a sense of privacy that helped restrain our activity online. Eric Schmidt is more likely referring to the younger generation that didn’t have the advantage of maturing a bit before these opportunities to permanently and publicly embarrass themselves existed.
But that’s not to say older generations are immune. There was great embarrassment for the new head of Britain’s intelligence service, MI6, last year when it was revealed his wife had uploaded various items of personal information on a publicly viewable Facebook page, including the location of their flat and of their children. Proof, surely, that any of us is capable of a costly mistake.
The warnings may seem overstated now, but Kipp thinks it should be taken very seriously. Cursory investigations into a couple of our colleagues have already revealed several well kept secrets. It’s not appropriate to divulge them here, but it was a shock to discover how quickly and easily information can be uncovered. And we’re a long way from being IT experts.
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