Website Outs Private Information of Public Officials to Demonstrate Privacy Problem

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Most of us are concerned about Internet privacy, or the lack thereof, but Betty “BJ” Ostergren is doing something about it. Ostergren maintains a webpage which outs the private personal information of public officials – all of which is available to anyone with an Internet connection and a clue – in an effort to get these public officials to understand just how serious is the lack of privacy our personal information enjoys in the age of the Internet.

And what interesting information she has found! Information such as the social security numbers of such high-level officials as Colin Powell, Porter Goss (Director of the CIA), and Florida Governor and First Brother Jeb Bush.


Yowch!

Be clear, Ostergren has no bone to pick with these people. It’s the fact that she, and anybody else, can get this information which concerns her. All manner of public records are available for the taking on the Internet, including property records, marriage records, divorce records, and military discharges, all of which contain personal data such as social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and more, just waiting to be plucked and abused. Sure, these were always available (that’s why they are called “public records”), but the ease of access on the Internet has exacerbated the attendant problems by orders of magnitude.

Decries Ostergren, “Don’t you think if I can get Tom DeLay’s Social Security number . . . that some guy in an Internet cafe in Pakistan can, too? It’s just ridiculous what we’re doing in this country.”

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Which is why Ostergren has been moved to create her webpage, which you can find at http://www.opcva.com/watchdog/.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

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