The world is a scary place. Someone or something, somewhere, is watching most of what you do in public (which nowadays includes the Internet). Whether it be a traffic or parking lot surveillance camera, a phone call, a text message or e-mail, it is safe to assume it is all connected to an NSA (USA), GCHQ (UK), MSS (China), GID (Saudi Arabia), or MID (Russia), a computer and/or human in one or more countries (see list of intelligence agencies) is privy to your activities. They know, for instance, that you are currently reading this article on RF Cafe.com.
This interesting 'infographic' appears on the SavvyIntern.com (graphic from LawQA.com), a website that specializes on offering advice to college students and recent graduates who are either looking for the right job or are paving the way for the right job once a degree is firmly in hand. Admonitions are given all the time about being careful what you voluntarily post online, since its lifetime is essentially forever. There are services that offer to 'clean up' your Internet presence, but depending on the extent of your presence, getting rid of everything is impossible. Celebrities pay huge amounts of money to rid websites of unauthorized pictures, text messages, and other unflattering artifacts. You and I don't have that kind of money, so the best cure is prevention; that is, don't create the opportunity in the first place.
According to the "Just How Private Is Your Privacy"" infographic, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers, leasing agencies, and other entities with a potential vested interest in your financial and social background have legal access to a wealth of information about you without even having to troll for the slimy stuff that might be on websites most people never visit. While it does not apply to public domain data, employers are only permitted to judge your fitness based on the most recent seven years of your history. Access to your criminal background varies from state to state, and includes topics like driving records, criminal court records, education records, bankruptcy, past employment, incarceration, citizenship status, and military service records. An FBI background check can be requested as well. Independent investigative services can dig up stuff you thought either never existed, or was securely hidden from public access. Face recognition software, for example, can be used to sort though millions of online images in an attempt to identify you, and then the investigator can research further if deemed useful.
Posted July 16, 2015