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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Protect your personal information with my amazing "keep your voice down" method

In the doctor's waiting room this morning I was once again amazed by how much information people will volunteer about themselves in public space.

Two women who hadn't seen each other in a while vouchsafed the following in less than two minutes. Their kids used to go to school together. One of them's grown up and fathered a child, though he doesn't live with the mother, who doesn't often call the baby's grandmother and ask her help although yesterday she did. The young father is a difficult sort and she doesn't know where he gets it from because his dad's very steady and considerate. The other mother's daughter has got two A stars at A Level and fancies training to teach, primary you know, not secondary. The other daughter missed some school work because of illness and now she's doing a nail course.

At that point the conversation was interrupted because the first woman's full name came up on the screen which announces that the doctor will see you now. I could probably have found her address within minutes.

I took part in a government survey last week. At every stage the researcher went to great pains to assure me that my data would be anonymized. I believe her. People are quite rightly concerned about their privacy being invaded on-line. I'm not sure they're sufficiently concerned about how much information they broadcast about themselves in the real world.