Monday, Nov 10, 2003
California State Senator Jackie Speier last week spoke out regarding identity theft, loudly decrying Google as "an invitation to identiy thieves" for making it easy for people armed with just a phone number to find out someone's name and address.
Speier explained that if a stranger enters your home phone number in the Google website, the search engine will produce a home address as well as a map.
Several others on the web have been quick to note that there are many other ways to get a name and address given a telephone number, but so far everyone seems to have missed the greater point: If an identity thief wants to get the holy grail of a name, address, and telephone number, they don't need Google, Yahoo, or even a reverse-lookup telephone book.
I wonder what Speier would do if she realized that ordinary telephone books routinely list all three. After all, if you're looking to steal someone's identity, wouldn't you be far more likely to already have a name or an address and want to find the phone number? Who picks phone numbers at random, trying to harvest an identity, when they deliver a book full of match sets to your door for free every year?
Google as an invitation to identity thieves? Please.
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