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January 30, 2005

PSA

This is just a Public Service Announcement to inform you of a feature of Googles that you may not be aware of. I found it at a site I frequent that doesn`t accept trackbacks so I`ll just paste it verbatim.


"Google has implemented a feature wherein you can type someone's telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and then you will be given a map to their house. Everyone should be aware of this!

Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked. Before forwarding this, I tested it by typing my telephone number in google.com. My phone number came up, and when I clicked on the MapQuest link, it actually mapped out where I live. Quite scary. Look up your own number. Read below for details.

Think about it--if a child, or ANYONE gives out his/her phone number, someone can actually now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The safety issues are obvious, and alarming. In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to: http://www.google.com/. Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-1212) and hit enter. If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private information, you must fill out this form.

I removed my name, but it takes 48-hours before the changes take effect.
If you are unlisted in the phone book, you might not be at risk, but it is a good idea just to check. If your number does come up, and if you click on the map links, it will show you a direct map to your house..."


- Joatmoaf -

January 30, 2005 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

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Tracked on Feb 9, 2005 7:46:51 PM

Comments

True, but the same can be done by going onto any of several reverse phone lookup directories, getting the name and address and going to any map website. It's really not tough at all. Google just does both steps at one site.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at Jan 31, 2005 11:45:17 AM

The link to the Google form for removing your name from the list also has links to the other reverse directory removal sites.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at Jan 31, 2005 4:30:33 PM

That's pretty neat joat - I'd looked up maps before via phone numbers, but it's a bit spooky knowing it's that easy to do.

Nice post.

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul.... at Jan 31, 2005 5:16:24 PM

hi. This has been easy and available for the last decade (or better) through the local libraries. On occasion, a phone call to them would do.

Posted by: annie jones at Feb 1, 2005 9:55:29 PM

This is not new...one could do this for 6-8 yrs online with a name or a phone number. You should Google your name occasionally to see what comes up.

The easiest way to get most blogger's personal info is to do a WHOIS lookup, unless you pay the extra fee to have your domain reg info unlisted, it's all there. You're cool cuz typepad is hosting your domain and your info's not a public record. That is another advantage of using a blog host such as Typepad and Blogger.

If you're concerned about kids, delist your phone number, or remove the address part of the listing if you want other parents to be able to look your number up and ask your local phone company for an opt-out form so they can't sell your info to online directories and marketeers.

I've never understood the reason for a phonebook listing anyway, people coming to visit are given the number, I screen calls and if you turn up at my door uninvited, you may meet my good friends, Mr. Smith & Mr. Wesson. ;^)

Posted by: BJ at Feb 6, 2005 6:12:07 PM