Online Data vs Online Presence

200px-Big-brother-poster.jpg

I believed that the numerous stories and articles about being cautious about the information one shares online had led young people to be more careful, it seems they are not.

I first noticed this a few weeks ago with my students when I created a FB profile for our language exchange. When I set up the profile I sent an email to all the students involved to let them know but also warned them that they could choose what information they could share with the profile (aka me). Only one made sure I could send her messages but not see what her friends were writing on her wall.

Yesterday I got a letter about our future English assistant. As the French administration had apparently not asked the would-be assistants to provide an email, I googled his name and here is what I got:

– his date of birth
– several photos
– the name of his high school
– the name of his college
– the description of his current university program
– the names of both his parents
– some personal articles about trips abroad
– his twitter alias
– some particulars about hobbies and interests
– one email address
– his FB profile (which revealed even more, including his girlfriend’s name and photo)

all within a few seconds.

Do you believe that this is too much or just fine? How would you feel if anyone could find as many details about your own child even if – as in GL’s case – none of it is incriminating?