Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writers (Mmmmm...and Readers, Too!) May Have Privacy Concerns

My writing friend, Karin Ireland, sent me this notice. She says, "I tried this and up popped my address. We live in a secure (sometimes) building so I’m not that concerned. But, yikes!" I thought that, though this may be a little off-subject, it still might be worth posting. Forgive me if it isn't as targeted as you'd like. Here is what she sent:


Google lets you search any telephone number in order to receive the corresponding person's name and address. If anyone than uses that information to search MapQuest, they will get a map to the person's house. It's a nationwide reverse telephone book. If a child gives out his/her phone number, someone can now look it up to find out where he/she lives. You can have your phone number removed or blocked. I tried my number and it came up along with the Mapquest and directions straight to our house. I did fill out the removal form for myself, and encourage all of you to do the same.

Quite scary. Please look up your own number. In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to: google ( http://www.google.com/) Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. in this format: 000-555-5555) and hit enter.

If you want to B L O C K Google from divulging your private information, click on your telephone number and then click on the Removal Form. Removal takes 48-hours. Check your own number and although this may not apply to you
if you have an unlisted number or cell phone as primary contact.


PS: I just went to remove my number and it seems to have worked exactly as Karin describes it here.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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