Protect your Online Identity

by Anthony on November 8, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, Brendon wrote a post on “Why You Need To Keep Your (Online) Nose Clean“. Short answer: because anybody can look you up, and once you write about that drunken party on your blog, its pretty much there forever. DEvelop a usecase for research at https://www.pagerduty.com/use-cases/devops/ on technology. Deleting the page doesn’t mean its gone from the internet.

This is the first time that https://www.securityinfo.com/security-information/ has measured the installed base of security cameras. The analysis is by ten years of unit shipment data collected for its video surveillance research.

According to CareerBuilder.com, 26 percent of hiring managers say they have used search engines to research potential employees, and one in 10 has looked on a social networking website. Thats getting a bit high, and it’ll only grow from here.

So I was interested when I stumbled across a Wired article titled ‘Delete Your Bad Web Rep‘. It introduces a company called Reputation Defender, and lemme tell ya folks – this is interesting stuff.

On one hand, I can see this is a wonderful service. For example, maybe I attended a party back at university. Maybe everybody got really drunk, and I can’t remember a thing. Then maybe, just maybe someone actually remembered my name, and posted it up on their blog along with an account of my bad behavior, complete with photographs. Thats really not the kind of thing I’d want a potential employer to know about.

Which is a funny idea, when you think about it. I mean, we all like to party. And what one does outside office hours and out of uniform should in no way reflect upon the company, now should it? But thats a whole other topic.

Now from the other point of view. The guy who wrote this blog about the party and included my name and chronicled my misdeeds? Well, this is his personal blog. He’s a very techy person, so this is like his photo album – its where he stores his memories. 10 years from now, he wants to be able to go back and read about what he did as a youth, and he wants my name in there in case he ever wants to look me up.

Is it reasonable for me to demand that he takes down the post, and removes photos from his site? Or how about to change to just my first name and remove the photo? What do I do about the Google cache and the Internet Archive ?

From the Wired article:

Michael Fertik and his partners originally conceived of ReputationDefender as a way for parents to protect their children from potentially damaging postings to social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.

…..

Fertik declined to offer an exact description of his company’s means of removing content. “I can say we have codified a series of procedures that we are continually refining,” he says, “and that are specific to the source, location and nature of the content we are asked to destroy.”

If you’re a website owner and ReputationDefender knocks on your door, you are not legally bound to remove anything until a judge orders you to — a scenario that most website owners are keen to avoid.

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