Remember the Google snafu earlier this year? It was where a CNET reporter wrote a story about information publicly available from Google and used several pieces of rather personal data about Google’s CEO Eric E. Schmidt. Here is the Huffington Post entry on it.
Along the same lines, I recently ‘Googled’ my own Social Security Number to see what would happen. Imagine my horror when one entry came up! It was a link to a 900+ page PDF vendor list on the State of Virginia website. The PDF Document contained the names and tax id’s of hundreds of companies that the State does business with. In the earlier days of my business, my company was a sole proprietor and I guess I wasn’t cautious enough with my SSN. Nowadays we’re an LLC and no one (but no one) gets my SSN unless we’re applying for funding of some kind.
Do I blame Google for this? Not at all. Clearly this was a document that should have been locked down to begin with. It took many days of calling and digging my way through various departments in the State of Virginia to finally get to the person who could correct the problem. (Have you ever tried to explain a web security breach to a state-employed receptionist?). Fortunately, I did finally get the problem resolved and the person I spoke with admitted that the document never should have been published on the web to begin with.
So guard your personal information closely and I suppose you’ll have to monitor it on Google as well!