Secrets on the internet
Even the CIA aren't safe. Here is how to protect your privacy online
The Chicago Times identified 2,653 covert CIA operatives using nothing more than the internet and some basic sleuthing skills. They also discovered dozens of front organisations and secret CIA facilities.
Although they did not reveal any names or details of what they learned, it is a demonstration of the power of the internet to cut through even the thickest veils of secrecy.
The question is: how good are you at protecting your secrets? They don't have to be big, scary secrets to be worth protecting. For example:
However, it is surprisingly easy to find a lot of this information. I used a whois server to look up the domain Microsoft.co.uk. This revealed their address and company number. I then went to Companies House and bought reports on the company for a couple of pounds. Bob's your uncle: I now have directors' names and home addresses plus financial information about the company. To sew it up, BT's online phonebook makes it easy to find telephone numbers.
�Even when people try to conceal identities, they can be tracked down�
Even when people try very hard to conceal their identities online, it can be possible to track them down. Last August, Dateline, an American TV, identified and confronted a porn spammer.
For a little more money I can use commercial services to get extensive, cross-referenced information about individuals and businesses.
There are other ways to find out information. The Data Protection Act gives you a right to know what personal information organisations and businesses are storing about you. The Freedom of Information Act gives you the ability to get information from public bodies and government departments.
There are ways to protect your privacy and business information online: