Online Privacy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It sometimes seems like a contradiction in terms that, as bloggers, we want to maintain some semblance of privacy. Many of us use our names, have our pictures and our families' on our blogs and a give a general idea of where we live.

We talk about the details of our lives, often very intimate details.
Some bloggers put it all out there, which is their choice. I've tried to keep some identifying personal details off the blog mostly for the sake of my son. But, what to do when an interesting opportunity comes along that crosses over the boundaries you've set up?
The Drama family was recently interviewed for a newspaper article about the economy and its impact on a couple's decision to have or have more children. It was published in print and online yesterday. Having worked for a newspaper I knew our last names would be in the article but since the paper is not in San Diego I wasn't too concerned.

But, this morning a producer for a local TV station called out of the blue asking if we'd like to be part of a similar story with a more localized focus. I agreed and asked how they found me since I hadn't provided any contact information, let alone my home phone number.

She found me through ZabaSearch. I've heard of the site before but I guess I was in a state of "ignorance is bliss" because since no one has ever contacted me using it before now that must mean no one is looking for me, right? [ETA: My ZabaSearch results gave my name, address (fortunately not our current), home phone and year of birth. The site had our last address under my name and hubby's, and our last three addresses under hubby's name.]

There is so much information online that is easily available to the public it would scare me shitless if I thought it about all the time. It seems no on is immune to having their lives exposed with a few simple mouse clicks. If you haven't taken the time to ZabaSearch or Google yourself or your family members do it now. You may be surprised at what comes up.

Many of the sites that compile personal information have a legal right to do so which is frustrating to say the least. We as citizens also have the right to ask that the information be hidden which is what I'm doing with ZabaSearch. It seems that the age of technology means anyone can be found at any time. But I'm not going to let it be so easy anymore


  1. I wasn't listed, but my husband was. Ugg.

  2. Good stuff - thanks for sharing and spreading the word.

  3. As someone who uses the Internet in her professional life to find out all kinds of info that people are continually surprised is out there, I still learn something new every day - and Zabasearch was a new one on me. Eeeeek. That's me, sticking my head in the sand, after removing myself from Zabasearch....

  4. That is terrifying.

    But cool about the interviews!

  5. I've tracked people down myself using I had a good friend who was going through a hard time and I hadn't heard from her in a while and was worried about her. I got her neighbor's phone number just by guessing at her address and knowing her first name.

    I'd love to hear more about the interviews.

  6. Wow, that is scary! I did the search and lucky for me there are a number of people that share my name and somehow I am not in the mix. But I have found info in other places.

    When I was single I used these type of resources to check up on people that I dated. I found some interesting information this way.

  7. Keep up the good work- nice info! Let me know if you find any bargains in San Diego and we can make you a guest blogger.

    Stacey Ross
    For Moms Who Love to Find Deals

  8. Ok, so I did the ZabaSearch, and one of the addresses that came up was my FIRST YEAR COLLEGE DORM! What?! Anyway, thanks for the heads up.

  9. Wow yes it is scary just how much is trackable via the internet. Because my married last name is so unique I've been very careful to not utilize it online, it's just too easy to search for. I'm not listed on Zaba but they do have an old address for my husband (as well as a really old address for my maiden name).

    Because of an early personal violation my husband and I experienced I've always felt very unsure about opening all of the public boundaries between my online and personal life. For this reason I've completely refrained from participating in the few television offerings I've been presented. Maybe someday I'll be ok with it but because I write so much about my children right now I just don't feel comfortable.

  10. Whoa. Freaky. It had "me" living in a city which I've never lived. But scary. Whoa.

  11. Definitely a somewhat useful resource with a potential dark side...Thanks for the heads-up.

  12. I figure, if I ever become famous, everyone will know everything about me anyway, lol. I might make my info private just in case my fame brings stalkers, so thanks for the heads up.

    How cool about the article and news story!


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