Personal Profiles and Other Publicly Available Information
An Internet Hotlist on Detecting and Protecting Your Digital Footprint
created by Professor-Librarian Robert J. Lackie
| Notable Social Networking Sites
| Notable Personal Information Search Engines
| Online Identity/Privacy Information Resources
| Website Author's Information Page
Do you know who you or your friends and family may be 'talking to' or what you may be 'sharing' online?
Social networking sites have become some of the highest traffic sites on the Web. Hundreds of millions of people have joined many of the hundreds of social networking sites available around the world. The number of these sites and those joining them seems to be growing exponentially.
Social networking sites have strong appeal to young adults because of the interactivity between users, and the ability to discover new individuals and groups by looking through other people's profiles and their lists of friends and contacts. Communication and picture-sharing has now become a very easy process. Consequently, these sites have become a haven for the creation of new trends and the dissemination of information.
However, social networking sites are not the only Web locations to find 'public' information on individuals. Besides the huge general purpose search engines, (e.g., Google), there are a wealth of 'people finder' search engines. These personal information search engines have attracted a lot of publicity for the particular type of sensitive personal information that they are easily sharing.
The following links will give you just 'a taste' of the notable social networking sites available, as well as notable personal information search engines providing publicly available data on many of us--probably even you!
Sites for online identity and privacy reports, articles, and protection organizations can also be found on the bottom third of this site. However, don't forget about your local university and public library resources. Libraries, especially with their large number and variety of databases, contain full text articles from books, magazines, journals, and newspapers on detecting and protecting your digital footprint. So, visit a librarian for valuable assistance--they love to help!
The Internet Resources
Notable Social Networking Sites
- Facebook - From Alexa.com: Back in January 2009, Alexa considered Facebook to be ranked #3 in the U.S. and #8 in the world. In January 2010, it began being ranked #2 in the U.S. AND also #2 in the world. In November 2012, Facebook still ranked #2 in the U.S., but it made it to the #1 spot in the world--it has serious staying power! In May 2014, it was ranked #2 in the U.S. and #2 in the world. Note: Facebook is ranked #2 in five countries right now (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/facebook.com).
- Flickr: Photo Sharing - From Alexa.com: Back in January 2009, it was ranked #19 in the U.S. and #31 in the world. In January 2010, it was ranked #22 in the U.S. and #33 in the world. As of November 2012, Flickr was ranked #44 in the U.S. and #57 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #71 in the U.S. and #101 in the world. Note: Flickr is slightly more popular in two other countries right now, the UK and Spain (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/flickr.com).
- LinkedIn - From Alexa.com: Alexa ranked LinkedIn back in January 2009 at #64 in the U.S. and #216 in the world. In January 2010, it was ranked #19 in the U.S. and #42 in the world, and in November 2012, LinkedIn improved even more in the rankings, with a rank of #11 in the U.S. and #12 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #8 in the U.S. and #11 in the world. Note: Both Canada and Australia also rank it at #8 (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com).
- LiveJournal: Discover Global Communities of Friends - From Alexa.com: LiveJournal has been around since 1999 and is still going strong, with Alexa ranking it as #51 in the U.S. and #76 in the world back in January 2009. In January 2010, it had a rank of #79 in the U.S. and #80 in the world, and in November 2012, LiveJournal had a rank of #276 in the U.S. and #122 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #12 in the U.S. and #142 in the world. Note: It is just as popular in Russia, with a rank of #12 (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/livejournal.com).
- MySpace - From Alexa.com: Back in January 2009, Alexa considered MySpace to be the 3rd most popular site in the U.S., ranked #6 overall in the world. In January 2010, MySpace was ranked 35 in the U.S. and #13 in the world, and in November 2012, MySpace dropped more in the rankings to #126 in the U.S. and #197 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #375 in the U.S. and #983 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/myspace.com).
- Ning: Build and Cultivate Your Own Community - From Alexa.com: Alexa ranked Ning in January 2010 at #187 in the U.S. and #301 in the world, and in January 2011, it was ranked #126 in the U.S. and #238 in the world. In November 2012, Ning was ranked #302 in the U.S. and #461 in the world, and in May 2014, it was ranked #415 in the U.S. and #533 in the world. Note: It is more popular in four other countries: Kazakhstan (#83), Greece (#147), Pakistan (#221), and Russia (#303) (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ning.com).
- Twitter: Start a Conversation, Explore Your Interests, and be in the Know - From Alexa.com: In January 2010, Twitter was ranked #19 in the U.S. and #23 in the world. As of January 2011, Twitter had a rank of #9 in the U.S. and #10 in the world, and this improved a bit more, since in November 2012, Twitter had a rank of #8 in the U.S. and #8 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #9 in the U.S. and #9 in the world. Note: Twitter is more popular in Spain and Mexico, with a rank of #6 and #8, respectively (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/twitter.com).
- YouTube - From Alexa.com: Alexa ranked YouTube as #7 in the U.S. and #3 in the world back in January 2009, and in January 2010, it was ranked #4 in the U.S. and #4 in the world. In November 2012, YouTube improved slightly, ranked #3 in the U.S. and #3 in the world, and in May 2014, it was still ranked #3 in the U.S. and #3 in the world--again, like Facebook, YouTube has great staying power! Note: It is ranked #4 in numerous countries right now (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/youtube.com).
Notable Personal Information Search Engines
- BeenVerified: Background Check / People Search - From Alexa.com: Alexa gave this a rank of #9,345 in the U.S. and a rank of #58,258 in the world back in January 2010. In November 2012, BeenVerified jumped up in the rankings, now ranked #1,947 in the U.S. and #12,946 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #3,548 in the U.S. and #19,040 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/beenverified.com).
- Pipl: The Most Comprehensive People Search on the Web - From Alexa.com: Alexa , in December 2009, listed Pipl at the rank of #1358 in the U.S. and #2,736 in the world. In December 2011, Pipl was ranked #1,051 in the U.S. and #1,651 in the world, but in November 2012, Pipl lost some ground and was ranked #1,830 in the U.S. and #4,284 in the world. In May 2014, it continues to drop and was ranked #8,066 in the U.S. and #12,481 in the world. Note: Belgium and the Netherlands rank it much higher (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/pipl.com).
- Spokeo: Search People. Reunite - From Alexa.com: Fairly new on this page, Alexa ranked Spokeo at #885 in the U.S. and #2,245 in the world back in January 2012, and in November 2012, Spokeo jumped up in the rankings to #438 in the U.S. and #1,963 in the world. May 2014, it lost some ground and was ranked #599 in the U.S. and #2,345 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/spokeo.com).
- US Search: Be Informed - From Alexa.com: Alexa ranked US Search as #859 in the U.S. and #3,347 in the world back in January 2009. Back in January 2010, it had the rank of #1,643 in the U.S. and #6,468 in the world, and in November 2012, US Search dropped a bit, with a rank of #2,344 in the U.S. and #12,499 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #5,123 in the U.S. and #24,593 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ussearch.com).
- WhitePages: Find People, Businesses, & More - From Alexa.com: Alexa ranked WhitePages back in January 2009 at #157 in the U.S. and #674 in the world. Back in January 2010, it had the rank of #146 in the U.S. and #597 in the world, and in November 2012, it had a rank of #152 in the U.S. and #783 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #231 in the U.S. and #850 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/whitepages.com).
- Zabasearch: Free People Search Engine - From Alexa.com: Back in January 2009 Alexa ranked this site as #1,939 in the U.S., but the world rank at that time was #5,858. In January 2010, it had the rank of #2,997 in the U.S. and #12,345 in the world, and in November 2012, Zabasearch dropped in the rankings to #4,277 in the U.S. and #23,963 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #4,434 in the U.S. and #21,162 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/zabasearch.com).
- ZoomInfo: Business Profiles and Company Information - From Alexa.com: Alexa gave this a rank of #882 in the U.S. and #3,134 in the world in January 2009, and in January 2010, it had a rank of #987 in the U.S. and #2,055 in the world. In November 2012, it showed a rank of #1,705 in the U.S. and #3,891 in the world. In May 2014, it was ranked #887 in the U.S. and #2,041 in the world (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/zoominfo.com).
Online Identity/Privacy Information Resources
- Center for Democracy and Technology's (CDT's) Guide to Online Privacy - 'While privacy faces threats from both private and government intrusions, the existing motley patchwork of privacy laws and practices fails to provide comprehensive protection. Instead, it causes confusion that fuels a sense of distrust and skepticism, limiting realization of the Internet's potential. A unique combination of tools--legal, technical, and self-regulatory--is being designed to address the privacy concerns of Internet users. Top-priority objectives include setting limits on government access to personal information, ensuring that new information and communication technologies are designed in ways that protect rather than diminish privacy, and developing appropriate federal legislation to set baseline standards for consumer privacy. This guide is intended to educate Internet users about online privacy, and offer practical suggestions and policy recommendations.'
- Consumers Union: Policy & Action from Consumer Reports - 'Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers. CU publishes Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org in addition to two newsletters, Consumer Reports on Health and Consumer Reports Money Adviser.' For those concerned about ID theft, see their Money tab, linking you to their Defend Your Dollars website, 'where we support reforms to the financial marketplace to curb bad practices by banks and lenders.' Lots of great information on money topics and tips for regaining control over our sensitive financial information.
- FTC: Identity Theft / Consumer Information - This Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website is a 'one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.' Sections for consumers, businesses, law enforcement personnel, and members of the media are provided, as are state and national data reports, not to mention that all website info is also available in Spanish.
- Identity Theft Resource Center - 'Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft. The ITRC provides victim and consumer support as well as public education. The ITRC also advises governmental agencies, legislators, law enforcement, and businesses about the evolving and growing problem of identity theft.' This site provides info on data breaches, victim and consumer resources, and scam alerts, and more--it even provides pages in Spanish and Chinese.
- Kids and Socializing Online / OnGuard Online - 'Social networking sites, chat rooms, virtual worlds, and blogs are how teens and tweens socialize online; it's important to help your child learn how to navigate these spaces safely. Among the pitfalls that come with online socializing are sharing too much information or posting comments, photos, or videos that can damage a reputation or hurt someone's feelings. Applying real-world judgment can help minimize those risks.'
- NetSafe: Using the Internet Safely - This resource was created by the Illinois Library Association (ILA), who have been the voice for Illinois libraries and the millions who depend on them, since 1896. It is a collection of links, or bookmarks, that 'are designed as a series that will help educate youth and parents to make safe and informed decisions online. Each bookmark is aimed at a specific audience including kids, teens, and parents.'
- Privacy Foundation / Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver - Affiliated with the University of Denver through the Privacy Center at the University of Denver, this foundation 'conducts research and educates the public about technologies that affect personal privacy when improperly implemented.' One of its main goals is to identify possible threats to individual privacy, and it publishes its findings on this site.
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Empowering Consumers. Protecting Privacycy Organization - Among its goals are to 'raise consumers' awareness of how technology affects personal privacy, empower consumers to take action to control their own personal information by providing practical tips on privacy protection, and respond to specific privacy-related complaints from consumers, intercede on their behalf, and, when appropriate, refer them to the proper organizations for further assistance.' I found their Identity Theft, Financial Privacy, and Internet Privacy links, fact sheets, and stories to be very valuable.
- SEC: Internet Fraud: How to Avoid Internet Investment Scams - 'Established by Congress in 1934, the SEC identifies as its primary mission protecting investors, and overseeing and regulating the securities markets in the United States. The SEC also provides consumers tips on how to use the Internet to invest wisely and how to avoid cyberfraud.' Their site for registering complaints is http://www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml
Website Author's Information Page
- Robert J. Lackie's Directory Page - Robert J. Lackie is a Professor-Librarian at Rider University in New Jersey, where he assumed a new leadership role in the Franklin F. Moore Library Department as the Department Chairperson in September 2013; prior to that, Professor Lackie co-led the Library’s Research Instruction Program and served as Education Librarian for 15 years. His co-authored ebook on identity theft prevention, entitled Identity Theft: What You Need To Know (Kindle Edition), was published in Feb. 2014.
Content by Professor-Librarian Robert J. Lackie, email@example.com
Last revised Tue May 27 10:26:28 US/Pacific 2014