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My Birthday = public info

March 31, 2010

I got a mail a few days ago – the subject line said “Two days to your birthday. Let us help you plan the day”.

I have no idea where it was from or who got to know when it was my birthday. Good friends of mine do not remember – despite all those “enter your birthday in this calender so I can remember” stuff – but this little website remembers.

Which got me thinking – how much of our personal information is out there without us even realizing it?

Birthdays (obviously), email IDs, Phone number – which is a portal to a whole bank of other information like address, personal choices, in some cases credit cards (which opens another portal). So there is all kind of stuff about me floating around in cyber space, for anyone with a bit of skill to harness and actually get to know me. Maybe better than I know myself…

Some argue that in India we are safer because we tend to make more transactions in cash and offline. Does that hold true for our generation too? I remember in college, this friend of mine liked a girl. He went online and he even managed to find out what was her favorite drink – in a time when social networking was in its pre-orkut stages. It freaked me out a little bit… of course, that point nobody would be using terms like “cyber stalking” particularly about your own friends.

And then we grew up and things like hacking into email etc got a little more common. Even then, it was a girlfriend who managed to find the boyfriend’s ridiculous password or some moron who forgot to sign out at the cyber cafe. My friends would laugh when I’d clear the cookies as well when I logged out at a cyber cafe. And then they got wise… even to the fact that if the computer is blinking saying it has been compromised and there is probably a Trojan in it, you should not be using it. If only I had a buck for everytime the cyber cafe owner to shake his head and say “it is okay madam. you can use it. please go ahead, insert your USB stick into the computer which is swarming with viruses and nothing will happen”.

Sigh… how far we have come! We willingly, unconsciously give out so much information about ourselves. The hackers don’t even need to work so hard.

And then of course there are blogs like these where we pour our hearts out, deluding ourselves into thinking that it is all anonymous. Over the past couple of weeks I have realised how many people I know personally but rarely speak to read my blog. (And yes I know you are reading it now as well but as I first swore, this is where I speak the truth). When I shifted my blog here, it was to have more anonymity… but I realise I am back in the same place again, no clue how.

I didn’t mind so much when friends started reading my blog again… but it was a mystery how some others found it. Silent Stalkers… people who read, think but never comment and lemme know they are here… Which probably explains why I write some personal posts and delete them as soon as I write them or password them (thanks to wordpress!).

Anyway, it is midweek. I am at home when I know everyone else is at work and it feels weird but good. And I wonder where time flew that I’ve gotten nothing that I had planned to do, done. Damn!

Song of the day: Everyday I have the Blues: Memphis Slim

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