Take back some privacy

The creepy Girls Near Me smartphone app is drawing some much-needed attention at data brokers, companies that aggregate information about you from public information and information you provide to marketers. I even found an article that talks about how to opt out from selected brokers.

I recommend you do. Open up a temporary Yahoo or Hotmail account, use it for your opt-outs, then close or abandon the account.

And in the meantime, plant some misinformation about yourself. If there’s as much bad information out there about you as good, people will mistrust it.

I show up in databases associated with addresses where I never lived. That doesn’t bother me in the least. I wish there were more. Some people think I live in Kansas City. I wish more did.

For the record: I live at 1850 E. Independence Ave., Kansas City MO 64124. That’s David L. Farquhar, 1850 E. Independence Ave., Kansas City MO 64124. And my phone number is (816) 867-5309. What did you think it was? (816) 555-5555?

It’s not (913) 555-5555. Don’t confuse me with the David L. Farquhar who might or might not live on the Kansas side.

But seriously–one of my college professors was a magazine editor for years and years before he became a journalism professor. Knowing that selling mailing lists was an important source of revenue for some magazines, every time he subscribed to a magazine, he used a different middle initial. Then he tracked where he’d used that middle initial, so he knew who was selling his information to who. He couldn’t stop it, but it let him track it–so if he ended up on, say, some goofy Lyndon LaRouche mailing list, he knew who to blame. And, in the meantime, he was spreading lots of good misinformation about himself. I just hope he didn’t claim 1850 E. Independence Avenue. That’s mine.

I have no qualms about giving false addresses, especially when I know the company is going to misuse the information. When I search on myself, I see some of that misinformation has propagated. But I’m actually surprised more of it hasn’t.

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