Don't Trust Me, Google Me!

By Levenson, Ellie | New Statesman (1996), August 25, 2003 | Go to article overview

Don't Trust Me, Google Me!


Levenson, Ellie, New Statesman (1996)


I met a man at a party recently who asked for my number. The next time we spoke, he knew much more about me than I remembered telling him. I had been "googled". That is to say, he had gone away and looked me up on an internet search engine. He thus found out much more about me than I would necessarily want a first date to know. I did the same recently to a man I thought about dating--at least until I read about his wife and children on Friends Reunited, the website that puts old school friends back in touch.

Whereas we once believed most of what people told us, the internet has given us the ability to ask for, and find, instant answers to nearly any questions we may have about anyone. And like any addiction, the more information we have, the more we need. It is no longer necessarily the sign of a stalker to find out everything about people as early as possible. Indeed, while bemoaning the loss of privacy, we put information about ourselves on the web for others to find with minimal digging.

The man who admitted to googling me could have found out vast amounts of information. Had he wanted to know where I live, he could have looked me up on www.192.com, where you can find the address of anyone who is registered to vote. Once you've got their postcode, you can type it into www. …

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