Anonymity in Web 2.0

In 2003 i wrote my diploma thesis about Anonymity in indicated data network. The goal of the thesis was to show the dangers of personal data on the internet and to inform interested people what it means to be indexed in any search engine, publicly accessible or not. The thesis showed the status of data protection discussions related to the Internet in 2003.

2 days ago i discussed with sugarmelon the importance of personal data in the current web 2.0, with it’s tons of online communities and services around people. I again tried to ego surf in google, queried my prefered pseudonym and found some fresh data from some web 2.0 services: my delicious links, my plazes links showing my employers office. I hit the same search at pipl.com, found my twitter microblogs and my facebook acount. I searched in ziki.com and found my jobster account. Not worth to mention that i still find all the information i also found in 2003 – my name, email etc, independent from which data i start. An interesting collection of people search engines from spock to wikiyou can be found in this blogpost from Arnaud Fischer. I tried searches for other people i know doing a lot in web 2.0 and found flickr images, youtube videos, their blogs, LinkedIn and Xing accounts (yes, they are open to search engines!), their presentations at barcamps, the music they are listening to in last.fm.

Thats good for a 5 minutes query when you think of all the qualitative information in these communities. How much is such a profile worth, collected automatically and interpreted by a human, done for a professional address data dealer?

Thats not the end of the game. With a people database like Xing or LinkedIn you have all this information at hands for 7 € per month. Search in Xing for „all people located in vienna, austria, applied an university, work as „head“ in the „IT“ sector“ – thats not tricky and provides you with a list of 28 „hand-selected“ decision-makers awaiting your whatever offering. Because most of us are so confiding with our data in Xing, you can choose to send us an email, call us by mobile or landline, write us a letter or visit us at home.

What do you think about it?

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One Comment on “Anonymity in Web 2.0”

  1. Dieter sagt:

    Great topic, I am collecting every day more and more examples – we should make something out of it. Kiss.


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