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View Full Version : sigh--should I pursue this or let it go?personal data on the web



iris lilies
10-1-15, 3:52am
I think I mentioned this somewhere earlier.

I can Google my email address, and a file from our neighborhrood comes up with my email address and birthdate, along with my name, address, and phone number.

Now, I don't have a problem with my name, address, phone number being out there on the web, that's all over the place for most people. And, my email address is out there as well because I've placed it there for a couple of plant society projects.

But I am a little uncomfortable with my birthdate (day, month, year) as well as my email address being in one file, and it is easy to Google the email.

I've asked our neighborhood's I.T. guy to take down the page since it is no longer relevant to anything, but he's notoriously unreliable. Should I push him to take it down? Or maybe it doesn't really matter. What do you think?

bae
10-1-15, 4:34am
Delete, and ask Google to remove it from their caches.

razz
10-1-15, 7:38am
And people wonder why I get upset about respecting personal data. I didn't know that Google would remove such stuff.

SteveinMN
10-1-15, 10:50am
And people wonder why I get upset about respecting personal data. I didn't know that Google would remove such stuff.
Don't expect it to be a slam-dunk. Google has put a lot of effort into not unilaterally honoring "right to be forgotten" laws which have been established in various countries. In their defense, full eradication is complicated. But gubmints are trying to make them do it. They wouldn't do it by themselves.

I agree -- pester the IT guy. Border on persona non grata. A full birthdate is very useful in identity theft. As mentioned, much of the other data is public record. But an entire birthdate is a different matter.

And, frankly, if you feel altruistic enough, if your birthdate is there, so are others. All of them should be removed.

freshstart
10-1-15, 7:08pm
agreed, DOB is not ok, I wouldn't even want my email

iris lilies
10-2-15, 10:37am
agreed, DOB is not ok, I wouldn't even want my email

My email address has to be there, I am a contact person for several community projects and events.and that information is out in the web.

jp1
10-2-15, 11:56am
Personally i'd pick the person with the most annoying persistant personality who is on the list and get them worried about it and then trust that they will pester the IT guy until it gets done.

iris lilies
10-2-15, 12:25pm
Personally i'd pick the person with the most annoying persistant personality who is on the list and get them worried about it and then trust that they will pester the IT guy until it gets done.
Cough cough, ummm. That person may be me

:laff:

But yes, I did think about whipping up frenzy from everyone else on the list to have them pelt I.T. Guy with messages to remove this sensitive data. It's doubly annoying because this page is from an old website that's been abandoned.

I am angry at myself for providing sensitive info. Everyone else ( the organization that asked for it, the doofus who put it up on the web and then made it searchable by engines) bears some responsibility, but it's mainly on me.

kib
10-2-15, 12:57pm
Am I being rash and crazy to go against the tide here? I have decided to be exceedingly careful about my banking and SS# and reasonably blase about the rest of it. Half the websites you go to ask for your birthday (I assume as a way of making sure you're over 18). I don't give my real one but I'm sure many people do. I'm constantly asked for everything from my email address to my family pet's name, and I doubt the security on that is as tight as one might imagine. If you go to a search site you can find out lots of information about just about anyone, especially if you're willing to pay. I'm getting to a point where I feel I'm being pressured into paranoia, and I'm just tired of it.

Alan
10-2-15, 1:29pm
Generally it only takes 3 data points to narrow down a database of 350,000,000 people to one individual. Name, DOB and partial SS# being the most efficient.
It's one thing to provide two of those three to a trusted individual or organization, it's quite another to have them present it to the world.

kib
10-2-15, 1:51pm
... I feel like identity theft is the latest fear mongering. I know it happens, quite often. Nevertheless, I'm tired of being told to be worried, focused on something other than what I'm actually trying to focus on, and pro-active doing and buying things that eat up my life energy. You may well be right about IL's situation. I was on the fence for a while but finally came down on the side of non-action. If anything, I'd say pursue it because once the seed of anxiety is sown, it never goes away.

bae
10-2-15, 3:01pm
Generally it only takes 3 data points to narrow down a database of 350,000,000 people to one individual. Name, DOB and partial SS# being the most efficient.
It's one thing to provide two of those three to a trusted individual or organization, it's quite another to have them present it to the world.

I only need to get name, an address, and a date of birth when I am taking down patient info on a call, and that's sufficient for us to locate medical records, and for our billing agency to figure out how to extract funds from them if necessary. We don't even bother with SS or DL info or anything.

jp1
10-2-15, 3:10pm
And really, it should take IT guy roughly 30 seconds to take this down. Maybe IL should paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "IT guy, TAKE DOWN THAT FILE!"

Alan
10-2-15, 5:26pm
I only need to get name, an address, and a date of birth when I am taking down patient info on a call, and that's sufficient for us to locate medical records, and for our billing agency to figure out how to extract funds from them if necessary. We don't even bother with SS or DL info or anything.
Yes, it's even easier if you have access to the right database. My example references the average Joe with access to the internet, those three data points will lead you to a specific individual.

kib
10-2-15, 5:29pm
But that's kinda my point. This stuff is already out there, about nearly all of us. Does chasing the muti-headed hydra actually matter any more?

jp1
10-2-15, 5:44pm
No, getting this one database offline won't be the final and ultimate solution in preventing IL from having an identity theft, but reducing one's exposure even just a little bit isn't a bad thing. Especially since it's something where she actually knows the person who can solve the issue, as opposed to trying to get some big faceless corporation to fix a problem like this.

Williamsmith
10-2-15, 6:43pm
. Find out the IT guys private information and post it on your Facebook......then send him a birthday card.

Reyes
10-3-15, 10:45pm
I'd want it down. Pester IT and Google:-)

iris lilies
10-8-15, 4:28pm
Update: after a month, still no resolution. The (former) IT guy did his best, but now my neighborhood organization no longer has control of that url and the President doesn't know who does have control. The President says he is working on it. His term of office is over in ten days. So, I'll have to follow up with someone else.

Meanwhile, I randomly searched a couple of the email addresses of my neighbors to see if their date of birth data comes up at the top of a Google search. That provided some, err, interesting information from another site, a sex meetup site, that one of my neighbors participated in. Wish I could un-know this.

iris lilies
10-8-15, 4:30pm
. Find out the IT guys private information and post it on your Facebook......then send him a birthday card.
Well, the date of birth of this IT guy is ALSO on this same list. He had a bed in the community garden as well.

Williamsmith
10-8-15, 5:02pm
A registered letter from an attorney explaining why you wish to have it removed and outlining a possible uncomfortable for him consequence of failure to respond.

iris lilies
10-8-15, 5:52pm
A registered letter from an attorney explaining why you wish to have it removed and outlining a possible uncomfortable for him consequence of failure to respond.

yes,that may be an eventual step.

but before that, I would rather donate money to solve this. I suspect that when our neighborhood moved websites we also moved web development companies, and the old company ignores any request for work. I would pay them something to take it down, if this is in fact a work problem. I had formerly thought that our volunteer I.T. Guy was the host and webmaster, but apparently not.

Meanwhile, we got a victory today when the Garden Diva, the person in charge of the community garden and one of the key persons responsible for this problem. Had a hissy fit and stepped down as garden leader. She needs to.

iris lilies
11-2-15, 9:09pm
Today this was resolved. It took 8 weeks for the file and url to be removed because our neighborhood organization, run by volunteers, screws up now and then.

Data still shows in a Google search but the hotlink to the file doesn't work because the file is gone. I will live with this.

nswef
11-2-15, 9:17pm
Glad to hear is is resolved "enough". That's a win.

SteveinMN
11-2-15, 10:10pm
Congratulations, IL. You fought the hard fight.