fauxsoup - 4:09 pm on Aug 6, 2010 (gmt 0)
...if someone wanted to find me badly, all they would have to do is subscribe to that list.
Exactly. Here in the United States I can figure out where someone lives with their name, license plate number, phone number, or any other of a number of seemingly minor details. Same goes for that girl you bring up, and I'm willing to bet her abusive boyfriend has more access to those tidbits of information than I ever could.
Most violent crimes are committed by someone the victim knows, and the others are effectively random, so it stands to reason that hiding those details away would do, um, nothing to help prevent violent crimes.
But wait! What about identity theft, or property theft!? Sorry to tell you this, folks, but if your identity is stolen it's probably because you weren't careful enough with your sensitive information. Don't throw away things which have your social security number on it, or anything else that could impact you financially (because that's what identity theft is about: money)
As for property theft, I can tell you what a thief is looking for: 1) do you have a nice car? 2) do you have a nice house? 3) are you away often? 4) do you have active neighbors? 5) do you have a security system? 6) is there an easy way into the house? Notice how none of those have anything to do with what could be considered personal information.
We can, obviously, create a case where the information published by Google aids a criminal in some way, but the question is what's in it for the criminal? He sets up a site, which you visit, and now he has your address. What crime is he going to commit? Identity theft? Sure, he'll have to go to your house and dig through your trash or try to steal your mail, which is all stuff he would have done to someone anyway, totally at random. So all you did by visiting his site was give him a target, which he didn't really need the site for anyway.
People have this illusion that if they somehow remove their personal information from the public space, nothing bad will ever happen to them, to which I can only say: how many victims did you know about before they became victims?
Demaestro is right; the only reason someone would care so much about protecting that information is out of fear, so what are you afraid of that you could actually prevent by keeping this information safe? I'm legitimately curious.
Here's an important question: why would someone target you? Why are you important? Why would someone seek you out to perpetrate a crime against you?