I have a tough question in regards to managing one’s identity, yet at the same time, managing personal privacy when you have a rare name. First I’m going to explain why they are both important to me:
I have have members in the family in both the police corruption branch, and have had members work in the prison system. This alone, is dangerous. But what can be done with a last name so rare that it can physically track my home address and other personal details even though we are set to private? I was so curious whether its possible to track me down with my first and last name that I hired someone who knew nothing about me other than my first and surname. He was able to find newspaper articles that mentioned the suburb I’m in, he also found social network profiles, blogs, usernames, etc that eventually led to him knowing half my life. The scary part is – he said – it didn’t take very much effort at all for him to build a profile on me.
I have switched to false names online apart from the sites that have the “real-name policy”, which has now caused some issues. I’ve noticed people on the internet use my photos, my old email addresses, and overall slandering my name and reputation on the web. This cannot go on. I’m pretty sure I’ve read an article on makeuseof about many employers searching Google before hiring people – this is where problems may arise. I’m letting my online identity run wild and I’m sure it won’t look good to potential employers.
So what can be done? Is it more a privacy vs identity matter where I have to ultimately choose one over another? I have also considered the extreme measures such as changing my name where it is possible to start fresh and manage both my privacy and identity at the same time.
What are everyone’s thoughts on this matter?