Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I know you better than you do yourself!

Very recently I came across a website which offers a service to build profile of a person you want based on the information it collects from websites and social networking sites across the internet over time. Just for a nominal service fee. I really wanted to try it out and see how much it knows about me, but the money part stopped me from doing that. Although it did not stop me from digging further and trying to understand how people give out their information, knowingly and unknowingly.

I was happy to find that typing my name in search box of Google or Yahoo returned me to my web page. But I was totally annoyed when I looked up my phone number. The search results returned a map with a marker pointing at where I live and driving directions to my home.

Technology has made it easy for our information to be available to general public. The face recognition feature in Picasa, the famous photo editing software from Google, only makes me wonder about the pace at which technology is advancing. I downloaded Google image search results for Shahrukh Khan, and using Picasa tagged one photo of Shahrukh's face as SRK. And, this is what it does. All the mugshots of Shahrukh Khan were automatically identified by the software as SRK on my laptop. Can you not think of how this technology can be used to access people's information over the Internet? A simple image search with my name returns lot of images I posted over time on various sites. Only a matter of time, these profile building websites would have access to all my pictures on internet through smart use of algorithms.

With the advent of 3G and smart phones, giving out information has become lot easier. Every application I use on my smart phone wants to know more about me. They reason saying that we can take better advantage of the application by providing our personal information, our interest and our tastes to it. And we buy their reason. Some applications would even access my location and geo tags all my activity. This way I make it easier for the profile building websites to chronologically arrange my activity, travel, pictures and what not. How does a graph indicating how our preferences changed over time sound?

The day is not far when we find our profiles from those websites to be better than our personal diaries. Doesn't that sound scary?


  1. I don't like this one...I don't admire the modern technology...it's not my thing...I prefer the old and taboo ones...in fact I kind of treasure more old love letters written on scented stationaries...

    life had become more complicated now...it seems that the whole world would want to know everything about you...to heck, i won't budge in!

    Vee, this is a nice post reminding each one of use how vulnerable we are to the gambits of modern technology!

    thanks for sharing... :)

  2. very thoughtful topic.
    In this fast moving world, no privacy is left.

  3. I suppose everything is a double edged sword.
    Sometimes I am quite thankful that I live in an era where social networking is predominant. It helps me stay in touch with my friends who now live miles apart, in different countries.
    At the same time yes, it does seem scary when your personal details can be accessed by strangers. I suppose its all upto you, so as to how much information you wish to share.
    Like I said, there is a good and a bad side to everything!!!

  4. CSU SM AA Admin -

    The whole world is all always interesting in knowing about us, but it is this advancement in technology that made it easier to give access to our private information to the ever interested public. It is really important to understand the traces of ourself that we have been leaving across the virtual world while browsing through the infinite number of websites offering a variety of services, for free.
    Thanks for dropping by!

    Pramod -
    Thank you, Pramodji. It will rather be that a little privacy is left in this fast moving world.

  5. Vyazz -
    Double edged sword, thats a wonderful comparison. What I feel about all these social networking sites are, they give an illusion that we are in touch with all our old friends. It just helps us in maintaining that thin thread which would otherwise be broken. Thank you for visiting and your valuable addition here.

    Magiceye -
    Scary indeed! :)

  6. Interesting post Vamsi.. Will be thinking abt this for the next couple of days

  7. Srikanth,
    Glad you liked! So what do you think of this post now?


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