Your Number's Up
Date Added: Mar. 5, 2003
In addition to giving us new ways to get information and communicate with our friends and family, the Internet also provides unprecedented access to our personal details who-knows-who to do terrible things with. What this chain warns of is not new, nor is it necessarily the threat its purported to be.
This is totally scary.......If your home telephone number is unpublished it will not appear.
Check this out.....New Google Feature http://www.google.com
Type your telephone number into Google's search bar & click the search button....MapQuest returns with a physical location of your phone number. People could use this feature to locate your home address, and receive explicit directions on how to get there from anywhere in the country.
You can remove your name off this database-- To do this: Type in your full phone number....using dashes...like this: 555-123-4567 If your number appears in the mapping database, an icon resembling a telephone will appear next to the entry on the results page. Click on this icon and it will take you to a page containing a description of the service, and a link to request your number be removed!
In 2003, Google.com, one of the best and fastest-growing search engines on the Internet, added a "phone book" feature to its powerful search facility. Contrary to what this letter contends, however, Google has not created a new threat to your privacy. They've simply collected a number of online services that have been available for years and combined them into a single search.
The first service is called a 'reverse lookup,' in which a search engine starts with a phone number and traces it to the name and address of its owner. The second service, mapping, has also been around for years and uses Global Positioning System and map service data to provide maps and driving directions to specified addresses. Google PhoneBook combines these two features and makes it possible to locate a business or resident using a number of combinations of phone number, name, and street address.
The link from phone number to map is not instant, however. When you search for a phone number, you will get a listing of all references in the Google index that include that number. If a Google PhoneBook entry is found, it will be listed first and accompanied by a phone icon and links to Yahoo! Maps and MapQuest.
Google isn't the only place you get this kind of information, either. Infospace.com, SuperPages.com, AT&T;'s AnyWho.com and Switchboard.com are just a few other sites that link reverse lookup to maps and driving directions. The information provided by these services is gathered from telephone directories and public records. While you may be able to prevent any or all of them from linking your phone number to your address in their system, the information is still out there.
Perhaps what frightens people most about Google PhoneBook is that it is seamlessly integrated into the regular Google interface. That, coupled with the fact that Google is far more recognizable than those other services, makes this a popular conspiracy theory.
This chain is similar to earlier warnings about seemingly sinister threats to your privacy, including the misguided contention that credit bureaus can share your information with anyone and the none-too-subtle joke about an online collection of Drivers' Licenses. But it's most similar to the 2002 warning that AnyBirthday.com could lead nefarious folks to personal information about you, including your Social Security Number. In that case, as in this one, the threat was not nearly as bad as the chain letter about it would have you believe, nor is the "solution" as simple. Break this chain.
References: About Google PhoneBook