Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Too Much (Misleading and Potentially Harmful) Information

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Too Much (Misleading and Potentially Harmful) Information

Article excerpt

Long ago, when Yahoo, Infoseek, and Dogpile were the kings of Internet search engines, and a google was merely a large integer, one might look for and discover a limited number of valid and useful things about a person, place, or entity by typing some terms into a search box. Try that today. I did, and discovered that there are 29,500 hits on Google for "robert hauptman" (RH), but no differentiation among the 31 doctors, dentists, scholars, businessmen, criminals, and other people who share this name. In the past, virtually every one of the more reasonable 750 hits (as I seem to recall) alluded to me and my publications. I am the RH who wrote all of those articles and books but none of the RHs on Linkedin or Facebook; I did not marry Lisa Blockberg; I do not live in Mississippi and I did not die in Nebraska; I am a doctor but not of medicine; and I certainly did not plead guilty to conspiracy to transport. This is all extremely confusing to anyone who knows nothing about the RH for whom he or she is searching, and this accurate though contextually misleading data and information can cause a great deal of harm. …

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