Facebook has never violated my privacy as much as Phonebook

The world is awash in the hysterical gnashing of teeth this morning as the BBC reports that a man apparently wasted time compiling a database of the “private information” of 100 million Facebook users and then posted it online. The news media is all over this in the “We don’t really know what happened but it sounds scary so let’s make it the lead” method of modern journalism.

But all this guy really did was gather data that was already available publicly to anyone looking for it! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again: if you don’t want something about your life published online, then do not publish it there! The guy says he deliberately did not mine for data that contained home addresses or phone numbers. Like that’s a big deal anyway. Has anyone ever heard of a little thing called the phonebook?

How come we’ve never seen this story:

Millions of Home Addresses and Phone Numbers Published for the World to See

By Ima Reporter

A high-ranking source at AT&T has confirmed that millions of home addresses and phone numbers have been published and distributed across the country. There are reportedly thousands of versions of something being referred to as “Phonebook.” The information contained within each Phonebook is apparently limited to a geographic region. It appears customers of AT&T were required to provide this information when they signed up for service. Customers were then told their data would be published unless they paid AT&T a fee to keep it private.

Congressional hearings are expected to be be called within the next few days and executives from AT&T are expected to answer some tough questions about invasion of privacy for their customers.

“Many of these folks needed a phone only for emergencies but now they have had to deal with calls from people they don’t even know trying to sell them products and services. It’s a travesty and we cannot let this continue,” said Congressman Eineed Votes.

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(Photo courtesy of Let Ideas Compete’s Flickr photostream.)

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