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I know Deborah and the others that believe this mean well, and if you
will not get so angry at me that you fail to read the entire msg, you
will find that she is absolutely correct on what, IMHO, is the biggest
problem facing genealogists online (and elsewhere) today.
> Releasing private information such as year of birth, locality of
> birth, and parents can provide enough information on a living person
> to help someone steal their indentity.
This is the biggest crock, the biggest myth, the worst urban legend of
today's world. Oh, it might help someone a bit, but that same someone
can get both the information he must really have (birth, marriage ctfs)
at the local court house.
This misinformation is being promulgated by the Nervous Nellies, the
Chicken Littles, those who are so 'security' oriented that they will
forego almost anything so long as they feel 'safe.'
Get this straight and remember it: THERE AIN'T NO PRIVACY. In fact,
there never has been. Computers, the web, etc., just makes it easier
and faster. Now why am I going counter to conventional wisdom. Because
I know. I am a professional. For years, long before the web, I
developed and marketed worldwide, software that assisted people in
finding missing family, birth parents, etc.
There are 2 things you need to protect: Driver's license number
(becoming more difficult all the time as some states are making it
easier all the time) and SS#. I have seen folks print both on their
checks. That is DUMB. I also know some that always give fake SS#s
except to those that legally have a right or legal need.
Just remember, assume you have no privacy and tomorrow you will have
less. Part of this is technology, much of it is big gov't. Playing
games by eliminating living persons from data bases will not help to any
significant degree.... just becomes BAD research... and really does
people a disservice by intimating that you are doing them a favor in
maintaining their privacy.
Identity theft is becoming
> As you share information ask yourself a couple of questions 1) is the
> information adequately documented or not and 2) whether you are
> willing for the data to become set in concrete as truth if you are not
> sure of its veracity. Some with whom you share data that is in the
> "maybe possible category" will forget the attached "maybe" and make it
Now here is a real solid point. Family histories with lack of
documentation have always been suspect. Use of AF and IGI w/o getting
sources, is dangerous. But with the rise of Broderbund, the WFT, FTM,
etc, the problem has mushroomed. Many folks with websites have no idea
of what sourcing/documentation means --- and what is worse, they do not
Deborah scores again by her statement regarding 'truth'. Far too many
feel that once it is in print, once it is posted on the web, it is the
equivalent as carved in stone.
Deborah, I am sorry to write so harshly regarding phony privacy issues.
All I ask is 'Check it out with a professional.' I know I am on the
wrong side of the power curve on this issue, but I am also on the
correct side. But I applaud you and would love to join with you in your
demand for quality research... so don't feel I am a total loss.