Personal data: Knowing who has yours

I just read an interview by TechDigest with one of the founders of Egg, the internet bank. It discusses the subject of who might have your personal data – things like your address, date of birth and name as well as other data that might be held by various companies.
In Britain, the Data Protection Act allows you to ask any company for the data they have on you and they have to respond to your request within 40 days. Tom Ilube, one of the founders of new company garlik, says “We decided to create a large-scale consumer-facing company that will help people understand what’s out there about them and how to manage it.” According to TechDigest:

Initially, this will boil down to a service that rounds up all the publicly-accessible data on a person, including their credit file, but also the records kept by private companies.

This all strikes me as very useful. I’m only 22 and just out of university, but I’ve been hanging out online for about 7 years and in that time I’ve done a fair amount of buying stuff online and signing up for websites and things. Not only that, but I shop in regular stores too! Now, I don’t have a credit card because I’m not yet entirely comfortable with spending money that I don’t already have – but I’m sure various companies must have information on me from my limited dealings with banks and building societies. Add to that various competitions I’ve entered over the years and there could be loads of companies that have my personal data, even though I tick the boxes that say that my information can’t be passed on to other companies. It’s all very interesting and I’m curious to see who might have data about me.

The Daily Mail weighs in on MySpace

How paedophiles prey on MySpace children

It’s difficult to know what to say to the Daily Mail’s usual reaction to anything that could indicate change or newness (the “OMG WE MUST STOP IT” reaction). So mostly, I’m just going to go through some of the article and comment on it.

The experiences of Alice and Lucy should send a chill down the spines of parents across Britain. Got a teenage child? Then itโ€™s more than likely that over the weekend they will be using one of these so-called social networking sites, be it MySpace, Bebo, Friendster or one of many others.

Probably MySpace actually. The rest of them haven’t taken off in the same way as MySpace, which has also been embraced by various corporations, media outlets and musicians as a way to pimp themselves out.

Continue reading “The Daily Mail weighs in on MySpace”

Blogging and working

How to blog – and keep your job

After reading that article, I started thinking about all the various bloggers who got sacked after their employers found out about their blogs.

How hard could it be to make sure that you didn’t mention your work? Or if you were talking about your work, not to mention names and place or any identifying features?

I don’t know. I’ve not yet been in the position where I’d be blogging about work. I don’t write about topics that I don’t want the world and her dog knowing about in any of my blogs (are blogs and livejournals the same thing?), and any vaguely sensitive topics… say pictures of my family (especially the younger members)… would go in a friends-locked livejournal post. That way, the audience is limited to a smaller group of people I don’t expect to be sharing the content with all and sundry.

So when I finally get some kind of job, or temping work, I guess I’ll get the chance to find out.

Email for Charity

“Then every time you send and receive email online you can help raise money for charity. The more you mail the more money goes to charity. What could be simpler? With every email you send and receive in your MagicTaxi account, 50% of the net revenue received from MagicTaxi advertising goes to charity.”

How cool is that? MagicTaxi launches their email service on Sunday, and while the revenue from ads probably isn’t that much for one person… if you have a lot of people using the service there could be a fair amount. Every little helps, as they say. ๐Ÿ™‚