Monday, September 15, 2008

Public Profile = PUBLIC

In going through all the interesting (and questionable) new business ideas coming out of TechCrunch over the weekend - I stumbled on one of them - iSearch - that, like other sites, will comb the web and allow stalkers of all sorts find out all the information they need about just about anyone.

It's really nothing new - there have been information "aggregators" around for years. They would troll the public sites of local government databases, and sometimes just perform Google (or Yahoo back in the day) searches to put together a "profile" of the person you're trying to stalk locate.

The interesting thing about iSearch is that it allows you to search by not just name and city or state - but also by phone number, or screen name. The site itself isn't "all that" - and it seems that there it's linked in large part to Intelus who appears to be the big aggregator of the information.

On thing I found quite fun - was the fact that it showed basically my LinkedIn profile, including a lot of the people I was connected to - and with a single click - you could get more information on them as well. I think this is just the start. If you leave a big enough digital, public profile - it's just a matter of time (and web services) until anyone will be able to get a full profile of you, your tastes, your music preferences, who your friends are (and their profiles, music tastes, etc).

It's also interesting that according to eWEEK, about 22% of hiring managers look to a person's online profile during the hiring process. When you have basically free access to "people" search engines that will aggregate a bunch of information together on a single person - this will definitely be a trend that is only going to get worse, not better.

The bottom line is that if you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pownce, Tumblr, Rejaw life - expect it to be aggregated, analyzed and dissected by anyone at any time. For the paranoid of the group - you may want to have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pownce Tumblr, Rejaw "alter ego" where you can "be yourself" and keep your "actual" public profiles clean and fresh as the morning rain.

In the "old days" (even today) - I can pay a little extra extortion fee to the phone company to keep my phone number unlisted. I wonder what we'll have to do to get "unlisted" from sites like iSearch...

1 comment:

BitSplitter said...

I see a market looming for spam generators to mess up your digital footprint in order to hide the real stuff.

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