Privacy or Paranoia?

Net Users Try to Elude the Google Grasp

THE Internet has reminded Camberley Crick that there are disadvantages to having a distinctive name. In June, Ms. Crick, 24, who works part time as a computer tutor, went to a Manhattan apartment to help a 40-something man learn Windows XP. After their session, the man pulled out a half-inch stack of printouts of Web pages he said he had found by typing Ms. Crick’s name into Google, the popular search engine.

“You’ve been a busy bee,” she says he joked. Among the things he had found were her family Web site, a computer game she had designed for a freshman college class, a program from a concert she had performed in and a short story she wrote in elementary school called “Timmy the Turtle.”

“He seemed to know an awful lot about me,” Ms. Crick said, including the names of her siblings. “In the back of my mind, I was thinking I should leave soon.”

When she got home, she immediately removed some information from the family Web site, including the turtle story, which her father had posted in 1995, “when the Web was more innocent,” she said. But then she discovered that a copy of the story remains available through Google’s database of archived Web pages. “You can’t remove pieces of yourself from the Web,” Ms. Crick said.

I don’t like having my privacy invaded any more than the next guy, but people have to realize that if you post something on the web, it’s published for the world to see. Don’t be so shocked when people know all your intimate details. It’s your own fault for positing a “dear diary” weblog. Also, why does Google have to be implicated in this? They don’t deserve bad press just for being the best search engine on the web.