Our privacy is gone, but at least people know we are who we say we are

June 19th, 2009 by Grace Meng

PayPal is following the personal information trail you’re leaving online to verify that you’re a real person, even before you sign up for a PayPal account.

It reminds me of something my friend Sharon said when she bought a house last year.  She Googled her new neighbors, and when she found nothing about them online, she started to wonder if they were spies, or maybe in the Witness Protection Program.

We’re all freaked out when we type our own names into 123people or pipl and find our home addresses staring back at us.  But it’s sort of gratifying to know that all that information out there is also authenticating us, and conversely, helping to detect potential fraud.  Would Clark Rockefeller, otherwise known as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, have been as successful conning people all these years if his ex-wife had Googled him in 1995?

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