Even so, with a larger number of students, there are still a few who don’t believe there is any information about them online. There almost always is. Each year there is charged conversation around the idea of privacy in one form or another and each year another company surfaces that is in the business of collecting and providing information on individuals without their knowledge and through the aggregation of public records.
Intellius was once again a topic of conversation for those who found it a bit disconcerting that along with the name, there was often an association of family members and the listing of age as an identifier.
They are not alone in the people search game by a long shot, with companies like Spock and Wink providing even more information.
Spock collects data from the expanse of the web and focuses on areas such as wikipedia, photo sites, blogs and social networks. Now we are talking about likes, dislikes, affiliates and notes.
However, this year, the biggest shock for the class came from a web company that not only helps you to find a person and information about them, but also allows for you to anonymously follow their online information and activity.
PeekYou, which also lists places you have lived and your age offers a feature that once you find a person you want information on you can select “track me”
As PeekYou explains this feature:
PeekYou now allows you to "track" anyone on the web. Whenever we discover a new link, tag, or information, or if someone posts a new message to Andrew Fry's PeekYou profile, we'll send you an email so you can be the first to know. In order to track Andrew Fry, input your contact information on the left. Once you have finished entering your information, click the "Track Them" button. We will send you an email with a confirmation link.
But check out the tag lines following that.
"Track Me" is 100% anonymous. PeekYou will never display or publicly disclose who you are tracking.
It is those last two sentences that are the creepiest. How many circumstances are there that someone feels a need to simultaneously follow around someone online, yet remain anonymous about it. Sounds like a better name for the feature would be “Stalk Me”.
Mind you it is all drawn from publicly accessible information and in my opinion is a product of technology use as a society we need to discuss further. In particular, the extent to which information about individuals is aggregated and then disseminated.
The students, and myself, find it a little unsettling. No telling what will be available next year.