Last month, I posted “What’s Your Identity Exposure Index?” I’ve had some interesting feedback. This one stood out:
I was really interested in your article about online identity exposure. Since I’m on the web most of the day – for my job, Twittering, creating a brand for my jewelry business – a Google search for my name delivers all accurate results on the first page. However, after taking your suggested test, my iEi was still only 1.6, which made me feel a little better. Do you have any suggestions for lowering that score…or is the damage already done once it’s done?
I’m still researching this issue, but I can tell you from personal experience that once something is on the web, it’s likely to be there for a very long time. I have managed to get some erroneous public records removed from the web, but some very old USENET postings have resisted my efforts at removal.
Public records are just that, public; but governments are prohibited from revealing, willy-nilly, sensitive information about their citizens. This means that if a “public” record somehow shows up on the Internet with sensitive information revealed (SSN, police reports, legal information, e.g.), a complaint on the proper channels will usually get the record removed.
I’ll give you the best solution I know, one that I’ve been using for some years now: If you are on line regularly, do everything you can to post and reveal the information that you *want* people to find. A blog is great for this. Using my blogs, over the past five years I’ve managed to push the junk well beyond the third page of most search engine results. I can live with that.