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Privacy and the Internet

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Go to the White Pages and/or Intelius website and search for your own name. If there are no results for your name, search for the name of a close relative or friend. Then, briefly answer the following questions:

What name did you search for?

How many listings were there for that name? Did any of the listings refer to you?

Select one of the listings (preferably the one referring to you, if available). What are you able to find out about that person for free?

What would you be able to find out if you were willing to pay for the additional information?

How much would it cost you to purchase the information about yourself or the individual you selected?

Do you think any of this information can be obtained elsewhere, on or off the Web, for free? If so, where?

How do you feel about having this much information about yourself or a loved one available electronically to anyone in the world?

Thinking about social networking sites like Facebook, were you surprised to find that information on these reports was mined from them? How does that make you feel?

If you apply for a job, do you think your potential employer will visit a site like this (or any social networking site) to gather information about you? What about information someone else posted or tagged to your social network page? How easy do you think it would be to have negative or inaccurate information about you removed or corrected?

Thinking back to the Privacy Act homework, who do you think compiles more information about you, the government or private corporations? How easy would it be to obtain information about yourself from a private company verses the government? Do you think it matters?

excerpted from: Burkhardt J. M. & Mary C. MacDonald. (2010). Teaching Information Literacy: 50 Standards-Based Exercises for College Students, 2nd ed.

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Created by: Martin Wallace | Revised: 07/08/2014

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