Sam Dekay

What is Russell Handorf’s Secret?

Russell Handorf seems to have a secret that has been withheld from the ten other contributors to bloginfosec.  Russell himself may know this secret, although it’s quite possible that he does not.  However, should he know-or should someone else reading this column learn his secret-please tell us.

First, I must tell you how I learned of this secret.  A friend of mine, who happens to be seeking a job, learned that his age (my friend’s, not Russell’s)  is publicly posted on the free “Public Record Search” of Yahoo!’s People Search feature.  This friend was horrified, because-despite legal prohibitions against discrimination-age may be a factor when a potential hiring officer is considering likely candidates.  My friend’s horror was intensified when his birthday passed and the “Public Record Search” revealed the new, and correct, age.  Somehow, the information that populates this site is updated from a database that contains dates of birth.  A determined, and quite patient, surfer could identify my friend’s DOB by observing the Record Search until the day when the “Age” field is incremented by 1 year. 

My curiosity was piqued, and I decided to see if my own age is also publicly accessible.  I followed the trail my friend had blazed, first into People Search and then even deeper into the “Public Record Search.”  My search was rewarded.  There, in digital clarity and awaiting the eager eyes of an international audience, was displayed my own age.  And, yes, on my birthday the number changed.  To be more precise, the number changed at 12:01am on my DOB.  Whatever database provided the “Age” data for this Record Search is remarkably accurate. 

One Comment

  1. Walter Berstler Nov 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I found this URL a few months ago. http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm Check out the two links at the top that are labeled “Data vendors that…”
    You can find contact information for many of the “people search” databases. You’ll notice that many of the opt-out instructions require you to send snail mail to an office, as opposed to a simple web page request.

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