What Private Information is Available Online?

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What do you think would happen if you tried to search public records for information about yourself? You may be surprised by what you find. There is quite a bit of information that is considered public, either through public records or through information intentionally released in a public forum. However, it's important to know which private details about your life are available online, so you can protect yourself and your reputation. Whether you want to research your child's babysitter or that new person you started dating, there is lots of information available online that you may consider private.

Searching Public Records Online

Some of this "private" information may be available in public records. If you search public records, you can find information regarding court proceedings, bankruptcy cases, and all types of certificates including marriage, death, and birth records. This information can be used to reconnect with a lost loved one or learn more about your family history. While this information is public, it is not always easy to obtain. However, companies like PeopleFinders.com enable you to easily search public records online, as long as you have some basic information about the person.

Public Websites & "Private" Information

For better or worse, there is a lot of personal information available online due to the extensive reach of social media and networking sites. Political affiliations, religious organizations, and current location are just a few of the things that can be used to find a person, for private or professional means. Photos are easily recognizable items that, for most people, fall into the category of private information. Naturally, most networking sites are designed to allow users to mark such things private, but they can often be accessed through tagging and placement on other peoples' accounts. In reality, anything placed on a social media or network website should be regarded as public information and treated as such. It is also important to remember that anything placed online, even for a short period of time, will likely live online forever. It is nearly impossible to completely erase online information.

The Pros & Cons of Public Access to Private Information

The fact that information most people consider to be "private" is actually available online, in a very public way, can be both good and bad. If the information is about you, and it's personal, embarrassing, or 'bad' information, you need to carefully manage it. It's a good idea to occasionally search online for any personal information about your life, so you can develop an understanding of what's out there, and take any necessary steps to protect yourself. It is also very important to be diligent about managing privacy settings on social media websites, and to consciously limit the type of information that is shared. On the other hand, the fact that some private information is often available to the public may be good, especially if you're trying to research someone new in your life, like a child care provider or a school teacher. You can search online or search public records at websites like, PeopleFinders for both personal and professional reasons, and you'll most likely find extensive information on everyone from prospective employees and suspicious tenants, to new neighbors and old classmates. Give it a try, and take advantage of your right as a citizen to access public information. Who knows what you might find?

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