It's amazing what you can find out about people on the internet. There is no privacy anymore. None. It doesn't matter if you stay far far away from those scary computers -- there is no privacy.
I spent this evening trying to find information on a family, where all I knew was that there were two brothers who owned a furniture store in the 1930s, and I knew last name and city. That was it. And through some creative searching, I now know who they are, who their families were, and where they lived.
And when I plugged those addresses into Google Maps to see how far apart the two brothers lived, I discovered quite an astonishing thing. Street view. I clicked it, and by golly, no need to drive to the city to see what the houses look like, if indeed those houses are still there, because I can see them right there on my computer! And I can "drive" my mouse down the street and check out the whole neighborhood, or the whole city, for that matter!
I was appalled at the lack of privacy. I use Google Maps all the time and had never seen this come up before. I quickly plugged in my own address and was relieved to see that there was no streetview. I put in my parents', and lo and behold, there was. But it wasn't their house. I recognized the house, however, as one right down the road, and "drove" my mouse and sure enough, there was their house.
I found my sister's, and I found my brother's. I found my best friend's, and then I went crazy and started plugging in all sorts of people's addresses. They were ALL THERE.
(However, you can't assume they're all exactly the right house. Lots of houses I looked at were not the right house, but were close. You sometimes had to "drive" down the street...)
I am apparently the only fortunate person whose privacy has not been invaded to this degree. Yet.
I was really surprised because I entered some addresses that I know I've looked up in just the last couple of weeks, and they had streetview, and I swear I have never seen this before. So I did some investigation and learned that on December 9, extensive U.S. coverage was added to Google's streetview feature which before was only available for a few cities. Wow.
Is it just me, or is this positively frightening?